New Arizona Law Expands Eligible Bus Driver Pool

by Carly Moran


After years of struggling to hire and retain school bus drivers, Arizona lawmakers and Gov. Doug Ducey hope to have enacted a solution.

“Drivers with a CDL are in high demand, and we’re losing them to big companies like Amazon and FedEx. A mixture of outdated federal and state laws are only exacerbating the problem,” said Sen. Sine Kerr, R-Maricopa, “Children are experiencing big delays in their pick-ups, field trips and athletic events are being canceled, parents are forced to drive inordinate distances to get their children to class, drivers are working sometimes 15-hour days to combat the shortage, and administrators are being forced to pick up some of the workload themselves.”

Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law SB 1630 on June 13, a bill originally sponsored by Sen. Kerr.

The new legislation allows schools and contracted entities to use vehicles that carry 11 to 15 passengers for educational activities. Previously, state law only allowed said smaller vehicles to be used at a limited level.

According to the bill, the Department of Public Safety will be required to develop regulations relating to the safety of these vehicles.

All drivers of these vehicles will have to pass all safety requirements given by the Department of Public Safety but would not have to possess a commercial driver’s license. Without this requirement, the legislature hopes that more people will feel compelled to apply as school bus drivers, and that the cost of maintaining school bus fleets will be reduced.

“Schools should be able to deploy any and every tool available to support their students. This bill recognizes that safety is of utmost importance when it comes to our children and provides DPS with complete regulatory oversight to ensure that when students load on-to these vehicles, they will be protected as they make it to and from their destinations,” said Kerr.

The bill came into play after numerous Arizonan students struggled to find transportation to class and other educational activities due to the critical understaffing of drivers. The state legislature’s hope is that the lessened requirements will make it easier to both hire and retain transit employees.

– – –

Carly Moran is a contributor to The Center Square. 



Related posts