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Beach Bill to Streamline Type S School Bus Driver Certification Advances

TRENTON – Aimed at combatting the shortage of bus drivers, the Senate Transportation Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senator James Beach that would permit the holder of a Type S school bus certificate to operate a Type S school bus to transport children to and from school without needing to first obtain a commercial driver license (CDL), passenger endorsement, or school bus endorsement.

“The ongoing shortage of qualified school bus drivers inconveniences families, causes students to arrive late and creates a logistical nightmare for school administrators,” said Senator Beach (D-Camden/Burlington). “This bill will establish a responsible path for people with standard drivers’ licenses to obtain a Type S certificate, and provide districts a greater pool of drivers from which to meet their specific needs.”

Under the bill, S-3000, a person would be eligible for a Type S certificate if they are at least 21 years old, have held a valid basic driver’s license for at least three years, have completed training established on appropriate procedures for interacting with students with special needs, in addition to meeting other requirements.

Currently, drivers of Type S school buses need to have a CDL in addition to bus and passenger endorsement. This bill would provide a sensible, targeted path for people to be able to get certified to drive a Type S school bus without compromising on safety qualifications while freeing up CDL drivers to drive the larger, traditional school buses.

The bill was advanced in a unanimous vote.