Legislation Designed to Increase the Number of School Bus Drivers in New Jersey Passes the General Assembly

In an effort to combat New Jersey’s school bus driver shortage, the New Jersey General Assembly passed Bill A2180 earlier this week. The legislation, sponsored by Assemblymen Bill Moen and Benjie E. Wimberly and Assemblywoman Carol A. Murphy, would allow certain people to operate a Type S school bus without obtaining a commercial driver’s license.

A Type S school bus is a motor vehicle that is operated by, or in contract with, a school and is used to transport students with disabilities to and from secular or religious school education or for school-related activities. These buses, which were originally designed by the manufacturer with a maximum seating capacity of nine passengers or less excluding the driver, have a gross vehicle weight of 3,000 pounds or more.

“Broadening the qualifications for who can obtain a Type S certification would empower more individuals to step up and fill essential roles in our educational system, ultimately benefiting students, families, and schools across New Jersey,” said Assemblyman Moen (D-Camden, Gloucester). “Through A2180, we are taking proactive steps towards alleviating the burden that the school bus driver shortage places on our education systems.”

Under the legislation, holders of a Type S school bus certificate would be able to transport children to and from school without obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL), passenger endorsement, or school bus endorsement. The bill outlines specific eligibility requirements for a person to obtain certification including, but not limited to, the individual being at least 21 years of age, passing a physical and eye exam, and having completed training for interacting with students with special needs.

“By expanding the eligibility criteria for Type S certifications, we demonstrate our dedication to strengthening New Jersey’s educational infrastructure,” said Assemblyman Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic). “This legislation would ease the strain associated with the bus driver shortage in a way that prevents increased costs and prioritizes student safety.”

Type S school bus certificate holders will still need to meet all requirements necessary for regular school bus drivers to ensure the safety of the students, and face the same penalties for misconduct.

“Through this bill, we are supporting families by providing much needed relief to many of the school districts within our state,” said Assemblywoman Murphy (D-Burlington). “A2180 is a win-win piece of legislation, creating jobs within our community and, more importantly, alleviating student stress when it comes to transportation to and from school.”

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