Federal government representatives updated attendees at the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) Annual Conference in Kansas City on plans to improve oversight of commercial motor vehicle drivers. They also reviewed the latest efforts to reduce emissions from school buses, and federal grant opportunities for school districts.
Larry W. Minor, associate administrator for policy at the federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, reviewed the current plans to implement the federal Entry Level Driver Training final rule on Feb. 20, 2020. He also discussed CDL program issues, and driver medical issues, especially those related to insulin-treated diabetes mellitus, of ITDM. An EPA representative followed with a presentation on school bus rebate program.
Background on the Final Rule
FMCSA established new minimum training standards for first-time applicants for a Class A or Class B commercial driver’s license (CDL) or an endorsement, such as for school bus, as well a, an upgrade of their CDL (e.g., a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL). Minor said these individuals are subject to the ELDT requirements and must complete a prescribed program of theory and behind-the-wheel instruction provided by an entity that is listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry.
Incorporated into the final rule are performance-based concepts that require driver-trainees demonstrate proficiency in both the behind-the-wheel and classroom theory portions of the curricula. The final rule responds to a congressional mandate imposed under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The rule is based, in part, on consensus recommendations made by the Agency’s Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC), a negotiated rulemaking committee that held a series of meetings in 2015.
The next presenter was Jason Wilcox, EPA’s program manager for DERA rebates and state grants. He reviewed current and future funding opportunities, including the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust, and the EPA’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grant and rebate programs. According to the EPA, school buses drive more than four billion miles annually, carrying 25 million American children daily.
The 2018 School Bus Rebate Program is offering more than $9 million to public and private fleet owners, to replace old diesel school buses with new buses that are certified to the EPA’s cleanest emission standards. The EPA is awarding selected applicants $15,000-$20,000 per bus for scrapping and replacing old buses.
Rebate Application Form and Supporting Documents