Drivers operating vehicles with a gross vehicle weight greater than 26,000 lb. need a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Federal guidelines mandate that drivers obtain CDLs for specific situations regarding the transportation of passengers.
A driver is required to have a CDL for transportation of 16 passengers (including the driver) in a single vehicle. A driver is also required to have a CDL to drive any vehicle designed to carry 15 or more passengers, not including the driver.
Any driver transporting students on behalf of a school requires a CDL, regardless of the number of passengers. This includes school bus drivers, as well as drivers of school vans or any other school vehicle used to transport students.
Transporting 15 or more passengers requires a CDL with the passenger endorsement. Drivers transporting students require a CDL with the school bus endorsement. Both endorsements require passing additional knowledge and skills tests.