New federal law may make it harder to hire new school bus drivers
The Richardton-Taylor School Board expressed concern in their last meeting over HB 1098, which would bring the state into compliance with a federal law requiring all new bus drivers to take entry-level driver training prior to obtaining their req...
The Richardton-Taylor School Board expressed concern in their last meeting over HB 1098, which would bring the state into compliance with a federal law requiring all new bus drivers to take entry-level driver training prior to obtaining their required Commercial Drivers License (CDL) with passenger and school bus endorsements.
The federal law goes into effect Feb. 7, 2020. It will not affect school bus drivers who already have a Class B CDL with passenger and school bus endorsements; rather, the law will affect all new school bus drivers obtaining their CDL after that date.
Richardton-Taylor School Superintendent Brent Bautz said the law will make it harder to find new school bus drivers.
"It's extremely difficult now, and this is going to make it a lot more difficult," he said.
Burton Lewton from Harlow's School Bus Service, which provides busing for Dickinson Public Schools, said it is already hard to find bus drivers.
"All busing departments are always short," he said. "I'd hire a bus driver if he came in today - if he had all the credentials - because it's hard to find them, and the turnover seems to be quite regular."
Harlow's has been aware of the federal legislation for some time and are preparing for it. Their defensive driving instructor will be their trainer.
"Everybody's going to have to look at it and see if they're able to provide this," Bautz said. "We could possibly provide this out of our own school, too, but you'd have to have someone get trained for both the written and behind the wheel."
The training must consist of theory and behind-the-wheel training in which the driver has actual control of the vehicle; therefore, it cannot be given online. This training must be given by an entity listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Training Provider Registry.
These training providers could include training schools, educational institutions, state/local governments and school districts.