Changes to the PA Vehicle Code regarding Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) that affect School Bus Drivers

On October 22, 2015, Governor Wolf signed into law Senate Bill 925, now known as Act 49 of 2015, to take effect on December 21, 2015, which makes numerous changes to the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code regarding commercial driver’s licenses (CDL), the licenses required of school bus drivers.

Here are a few things to know about Act 49:

 

  1. Changes to the PA Vehicle Code regarding CDLs.

 

  • PennDOT will now accept the results of skills tests administered in other states that meet the federal testing standards.

 

  • No employer shall allow a driver to operate a commercial vehicle unless the person is “qualified” in accordance with the Act.

 

  • PennDOT will require a retest within 30 days upon receiving credible information that a holder of a commercial driver learner’s permit or a holder of a commercial driver license is suspected of fraudulent activity related to the issuance of a commercial driver learner’s permit or commercial driver’s license.

 

  • CDL tests will be administered in English only, and no interpreters will be permitted during the testing process.

 

  • The Act adjusts a variety of license classifications, endorsements and restrictions. For example, codes are listed describing CDL restrictions such as (E) not being allowed to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission or (Q) requiring corrective lenses.

 

  1. Specific changes for school bus drivers.

 

  • Extends the time period in which a school bus driver must have his or her required physical examination, including an eye exam, from 12 months to 13 months.

 

With regard to the requirement that no employer shall knowingly allow, require, permit or authorize a driver to drive a commercial motor vehicle if the driver is not qualified, any such violation any such violation may subject the employer to a $1,000 fine.   School Districts should review their CDL requirements for bus drivers and other positions requiring CDL licensure to determine if any updates are required.  Please contact MBM if you need assistance with these changes.

Alfred C. Maiello