SPRINGFIELD - Illinois residents applying for Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) can now take their written test in Spanish thanks to a new initiative to increase accessibility and address truck and school bus driver shortages, Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced today.

Illinois joins more than 20 states, including Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Texas, in offering this test in Spanish.

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In addition to the test, the Secretary of State’s office has also translated CDL study guide materials, making them available in Spanish.

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“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."

Having a Spanish translation of the written test will assist with accessibility and is part of a larger effort to address a shortage of CDL drivers, including school bus drivers and agricultural producers who rely on temporary agricultural workers.

While the information contained within the written test is not altered by the translation, the translation makes it easier for individuals who do not speak English as their primary language to understand the detailed technical information included on the test. Testing standards and CDL requirements are not altered by the translation. In addition, applicants must meet all other criteria, including permitting and training requirements, before a CDL is issued.

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