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School bus driver deadline extended

School bus drivers nationwide will have more time to complete new federal licensing requirements.

Because of lobbying by NEA and its Montana and Minnesota state affiliates, the implementation of the "S" endorsement for school bus drivers has been delayed for one year, until September 30, 2006. The provision is part of the highway bill, just passed by Congress, which President Bush is expected to sign.

Originally, the federal Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act mandated that by September 30, 2005, all school bus drivers must maintain a special school endorsement on their Commercial Driver License (CDL). The new "S" endorsement involves taking a written test and a skills (road) test.

Applicants for an "S" endorsement must demonstrate knowledge of topics such as passenger loading/unloading, emergency evacuation procedures, railroad crossings, pre-trip inspections, and driving skills appropriate to one of three types of vehicle, according to NEA Today.

For more background on this requirement, read "S is for Stuff They Know," in the April 2005 issue of NEA Today.