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Illinois to allow CDL applicants to take written test in Spanish

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Illinois will join a growing number of states that allow CDL applicants to take the written test in Spanish.

On July 8, Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced “a new initiative to increase accessibility and address truck and school bus driver shortages” by offering a written CDL test and study guide in Spanish.

Officials say that testing standards and CDL requirements will not be altered by the Spanish translation, and that applicants must meet all other criteria, including permitting and training requirements, before a CDL is issued. Additionally, all CDL applicants must have U.S. citizenship, legal permanent residency status, or be a non-domiciled driver.

Giannoulias says that more than 20 other states offer CDL testing in Spanish, including Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Texas.

“Offering the CDL test in Spanish is one of the many steps our office is taking to ensure our services are as accessible and inclusive as possible,” Giannoulias said. “This change will help qualified individuals whose primary language is Spanish to become licensed drivers and will help us address school bus and truck driver shortages across the state while maintaining stringent testing standards.”

“School bus drivers play a vital part of the education system with eligible families and school children relying on dependable yellow bus service to get to school every day,” said Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Pedro Martinez. “Allowing bus driver applicants to test in Spanish will help increase access to becoming a bus driver, mitigating the driver shortage that CPS and other school districts have faced over the past few years. It is another step toward getting more eligible students on buses as we start the 2024-25 school year in late August.”

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