Skip Maine state header navigation

Agencies | Online Services | Help

INFORMATIONAL LETTER: #67

POLICY CODE: EEAEA

TO:                   Superintendents of Schools, Business Managers and Transportation Supervisors

FROM:             Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:              December 21, 2004

SUBJECT:        New Federal Commercial Driver License Requirements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a new final rule titled “Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Standards, Requirements and Penalties; Commercial Driver’s License Program Improvements and Noncommercial Motor Vehicle Violations”.   This rule is issued as part of 49 CFR Part 350.   It has a significant impact on the requirements for skills and knowledge testing for school bus drivers, adding skill and knowledge factors for loading and unloading, emergency evacuations, railroad crossings, student management, anti-lock braking systems and special safety situations.  

The rule requires that all current school bus drivers pass a written knowledge test covering the new material and that licensed school bus drivers not meeting specific initial test requirements, also take a driving road test.   The rule adds requirements for fingerprinting and driving and criminal background checks for all bus drivers.   Additional disqualifying standards are also defined in the rule. The deadline for the completion of all retests is September 30, 2005.   After that date, any driver who has not met the new re-qualification standards must reapply for his or her school bus driver CDL and will be unable to drive a commercial vehicle or school bus until the full application process and testing process is completed.   A detailed discussion of the new rule requirements can be found at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safetyprogs/CDLFactSheet.htm.

The Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) is working with the Department of Education and the Maine Association for Pupil Transportation (MAPT) to offer the testing process as part of the school bus safety conferences to be held in April, June and July of 2005 to provide easy and adequate access to the testing process prior to the September deadline.

For more information, please contact   Larry Boivin, Motor Vehicle Examiner at the Maine BMV at larry.boivin@maine.gov; Harvey Boatman, Education Specialist for Pupil Transportation at the Department of Education at harvey.boatman@maine.gov, or George P. Jones, III, Executive Director at the MAPT at jonesgp@attglobal.net.