Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed legislation in August requiring drivers transporting students enrolled in grade 12 or below to or from school activities to have a commercial driver's license (CDL) with a school bus driver endorsement.
The legislation, HB 2840, also established requirements for obtaining a CDL school bus driver endorsement, which include the following:
A person must submit fingerprints to the Department of State Police, pass a written test administered by the Secretary of State, demonstrate physical fitness by submitting results of a medical examination (including a drug test) and pass applicable background tests.
The amended vehicle code language states that a valid CDL issued by any other state or jurisdiction in accordance with federal rules is also acceptable.
A person may also operate such a bus if he or she holds a valid school bus driver permit that was issued on or before Dec. 31, 2003.
The law amends the school code to provide that all contracts for these types of services contain a clause that indicates whether or not all charter bus drivers passed all of the necessary requirements.
The original Illinois legislation establishing the school bus permit left out any chance for out-of-state drivers to earn a permit, which prevented then from transporting any Illinois school children (grades K-12).