DPS Announces Waiver for Select CDLs to Assist with School Bus Driver Shortage

January 14, 2022

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety announces the implementation of a waiver for commercial driver license (CDL) applicants seeking to operate a school bus. This waiver is effective Jan. 24, 2022, and expires March 31, 2022.   

To help states and municipalities that are experiencing a severe shortage of school bus drivers and to recruit new hires, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that states may waive the portion of the CDL testing requirement covering knowledge of the “under the hood” engine components. 

Texas has elected to waive the engine compartment component of the pre-trip vehicle inspection skills test for CDL applicants seeking the School Bus (S) and Passenger (P) endorsement. Applicants who successfully complete required testing, will be issued a CDL restricted to intrastate operation of a school bus only. Applicants using this waiver will not be required to provide a medical certificate. 

The engine compartment components that will be excluded from the pre-trip vehicle inspection are: oil level, coolant level, power steering fluid/belt /gear, water pump belt/gear, alternator belt/gear, air compressor (belt/gear), or hydraulic master cylinder (as applicable) and leak/hoses. All other components of the pre-trip vehicle inspection, basic controls and road test must be completed. 

If the applicant wishes to drive vehicles other than school buses, the full CDL skills testing will be required and a medical certificate may be required depending on the type of commerce the applicant selects.

Schedule an appointment

Customers wishing to take advantage of this waiver will need to book an appointment. To schedule an appointment or check availability, visit the online appointment scheduler. You must make an appointment online. Upon arrival at the driver license office, customers can check-in at the kiosk inside or from their mobile device. A reminder, customers can only check-in up to 30 minutes prior to their appointment time.

The department reminds customers who have existing appointments, but will not be able to keep them, to please cancel as soon as they are able. While the department is working to serve as many customers as possible, people not showing up for their appointments continues to be a major obstacle. The current no-show rate for appointments is 28%, which negatively impacts our ability to get Texans the services they need.

Driver license offices will remain open Monday through Friday during normal operating hours to assist customers with both commercial and non-commercial driver license needs. Appointments may be booked up to six months in advance for a specific day and time.

View the full FMCSA waiver here.

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