New IL license classification could ease rural driver shortage 

A new driver’s license classification in Illinois could help ease the shortage of rural bus and truck drivers.

Rodney Knittle, associate director of transportation at Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB), says the new “J-52” designation would make a significant change for license holders…

“Currently a person can’t carry a bus driver CDL and a non CDL Class A license because the system really won’t allow them to do that.”  He says, “We’ve worked on the technology of that to allow that to happen on a license and so they’re actually gonna call it a J-52.”

He tells Brownfield it allows for more opportunities for drivers…

“I think that’d be great for rural communities, right?”  He says, “Where bus drivers are a shortage. Truck drivers are shortage and so a person who wants to do both will be able to do both and help serve their community in more than just one way.”

Knittle says it will benefit family farms…

“We think this is a benefit where even a fuel truck driver that maybe drove trucks wants to help their family farm on the weekend.”  He says, “Now they can go get that J-52 and can drive that covered farm vehicle on the weekends or in the evenings and help out their family farm.”

IFB worked with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office to implement the change.  The new designation is expected to be available later this spring. 

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