Morelle asks Secretary of Transportation to waive CDL requirement for school bus drivers amid shortage

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Given the shortage of drivers, Rep. Joe Morelle (D, NY-25) has reached out to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, asking him to consider waiving the commercial driver’s license requirement for school bus drivers.

He said the CDL is appropriate for truck drivers but irrelevant for bus drivers.

When it comes to hiring more school bus drivers Morelle said current CDL requirements should not stand in the way of hiring more drivers.

"We’re not going to reduce the requirements that apply to the safety of children or transporting them, but if you have to be able to look underneath the hood of you know a tractor-trailer, and do some maintenance on it, I’m not sure why that would be a requirement that’s necessary for school bus drivers," Morelle said.

Morelle reached to Secretary Pete Buttigieg, asking him to review the waiver request.

"Hopefully we’ll hear back from the Secretary’s Office, if not obviously we’ll follow through, but we want to do everything we can to ensure safety, but also make sure that we have enough folks to transport young people," Morelle said.

News10NBC also asked Morelle about President Biden’s new vaccine mandates which were announced on Thursday. Morelle shares the President’s growing frustrations.

"We want to put an end to the pandemic, and the national emergency, and since there seems to be a real reluctance I think more forceful measures may be in order," Morelle said.

The mandate requires all employers with more than 100 employees to ensure that they’re either all fully vaccinated, or show a negative COVID-19 test at least once a week.

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Chairman Bob Duffy says vaccine mandates should not be placed on companies.

"Where it’s really an individual’s responsibility to do it either, or get vaccinated, or wear a mask and protect yourself, and others," Duffy said.

Morelle added, "If the company has a federal contract, and chooses not to have a mandate in place then the really only way to sanction people for not following the mandate is to sanction the company, and say that you can’t do business with the federal government."

Despite the shortage, First Student, one of the RCSD’s contractors, reports it is seeing an increase in driver applications. It says it’s taking more applications and it’s urging anyone interested to apply. Click here to apply.