Biden admin tries to fix bus driver shortage by waiving requirement to identify engine parts

Labor shortages have made it difficult for school districts to find bus drivers

The Department of Transportation and Department of Education announced that they will temporarily waive the requirement for bus drivers to be able to identify engine components in order to obtain their CDL license.

"This Administration is listening to the needs of school communities and remains committed to making sure schools are open safely for in-person learning full time," Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a press release Tuesday. "We’ve heard from educators and parents that labor shortages, particularly of bus drivers, are a roadblock to keeping kids in schools."

 Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona

 Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona (Joshua Roberts / Getty Images)

The temporary policy comes as labor shortages have made it difficult for school districts across the country to find bus drivers, a problem the that has plagued schools attempting to keep kids in the classroom.

The updated rules will give states the option to waive the requirement that bus drivers be able to identify engine components, but the rule will not apply to other CDL licenses such as trucks, motorcoaches or any other vehicle that typically requires a CDL.

A group of young children getting on the school bus

A group of young children getting on the school bus (iStock)

"Today’s announcement will give states the flexibility they need to help increase the pool of drivers, who are a key part of the school community, and get kids to school safely each day where students learn best," Cardona said.


The waiver went into effect on Monday and runs through March 31, which Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg hopes will help alleviate labor shortages while allowing school districts to focus on other COVID-19 safety measures.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (AP Photo/Susan Walsh / AP Newsroom)

"This federal waiver will help states that are short on bus drivers," Buttigieg said in a statement Tuesday. "By allowing states to focus on the testing requirements that are critical to safety, we will get additional, qualified drivers behind the wheel to get kids to school safely."