Oklahoma Will Waive Certain Test Requirements For School Bus Drivers

Thursday, January 6th 2022, 3:21 pm


The U.S. Departments of Transportation and Education announced this week that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is giving states the option of waiving a portion of the commercial driver's license skills test for school bus drivers.

On Friday, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety decided that the state will participate in the waiver and change the CDL exam. This means the portion of the exam that requires applicants to identify "under the hood" engine components will be waived in an effort to ease the bus driver staffing shortage in Oklahoma.

Rick Greene, Coweta Public Schools Transportation Director and also a third-party CDL examiner for Oklahoma, explained what “under the hood” entails.

"When people have to inspect under the hood, they have to talk about brakes, shocks, suspension, and fluid levels," explained Greene.

Green said he does not think the waiver will make much of a difference in recruitment.

"It might at first until people get in and see what all is still required,” said Green. “I think a lot of it is because COVID, most of our drivers are older adults that are still kind of afraid of COVID."

State Representative Melissa Provenzano of Tulsa said she believes the waiver will help.

"With this waiver, we can pursue those avenues of people perhaps checked it out and said it's a little too much to handle and just need something local and easy to accomplish," said Provenzano.

There is a wide range of needs around Green Country districts.

Openings at the following districts range from 1 to 20, with the most being at Tulsa Public Schools:

Bixby: 2

Broken Arrow: 15

Coweta: 3

Jenks: 15

Owasso: 3

Sapulpa: 1

Tulsa: 20

Union: 7

Some districts like Union are offering sign-on bonuses and others like Broken Arrow are holding job fairs to recruit.

DPS says the waiver applies only to school bus drivers and expires on March 31st.


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