PennDOT Announces New Implementation of Skills Test

In keeping with Governor Josh Shapiro’s commitment to expand Pennsylvania’s workforce and serve Pennsylvanians more efficiently, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that a new, modernized commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test will be implemented at all PennDOT Driver License Centers that offer CDL skills tests and at all third-party CDL driving skill testers beginning August 28, 2023. As new technologies emerge, the modernized CDL skills test ensures that CDL drivers have the knowledge and skills to drive safely on the road while waiving outdated requirements that hold workers back.  

For example, the Shapiro Administration recognizes school districts have been dealing with the school bus driver shortage since the pandemic and school bus engines have become more complex and modern. That’s why, starting August 28th, PennDOT will waive the “Under the Hood requirement” for school bus drivers, which means that potential school bus drivers will no longer need to take the portion of the CDL test that requires them to identify engine components.

“Governor Shapiro has made it clear that the Commonwealth should help people succeed, not get in the way. Under his direction, PennDOT is working to make our services more accessible and effective for the people of Pennsylvania,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “As someone with a CDL, I know that technology in our vehicles has greatly evolved and improved, even in our commercial vehicles. This modernized test is another way PennDOT is enhancing its services to better serve our CDL applicants while still ensuring the safety of school bus passengers.”

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has created a long-term waiver extension that allows a state to modify the Commercial Driver’s License test for drivers seeking to obtain a school bus endorsement. PennDOT will implement this waiver granted by FMCSA, and as a result, potential school bus drivers no longer need to take the portion of the CDL test that identifies engine components “under the hood.” Under the current federal waiver, the “under the hood” portion of the test may be waived for school bus driver applicants through November 27, 2024.

“Knowing the components of a school bus engine does not impact a school bus driver’s safe driving skills,” said Deputy Secretary for Driver and Vehicle Services Kara Templeton. “By implementing this waiver from FMCSA, we hope that more drivers will apply for the school bus endorsement and become school bus drivers.”

As always, the CDL skills test examines an applicant’s knowledge based on vehicle features and focuses on key skills needed to safely operate a commercial vehicle. Now, the skills test has received a much needed update to reflect modern vehicle features. Applicants must pass the full CDL Skills Test – which includes pre-trip inspection, basic control and a road test – to receive their CDL. Prospective applicants scheduled to take the test after August 28, 2023, are encouraged to review and study the updated Commercial Driver License Manual to prepare for each portion of the knowledge and driver skills test.

The Vehicle Inspection (VI) test and the Basic Control Skills (BCS) test were updated during the modernization process. CDL applicants may be asked to identify up to 90 different components on the vehicle and describe what they are looking for to ensure it is safe and ready for use compared to the current requirement of more than 100 items. In addition, a checklist is now authorized to be used as a memory aid for this segment.

The BCS Testwill require CDL applicants to demonstrate four maneuvers to demonstrate control: 

  • Forward Stop to demonstrate an applicant’s ability to judge the front of the vehicle; 
  • Straight-Line Backing to demonstrate the applicant’s ability to back the vehicle in a straight line; 
  • Forward Offset Tracking to demonstrate an applicant’s ability to maneuver the vehicle around other objects while moving forward; and 
  • Reverse Offset Backing to demonstrate an applicant’s ability to offset reverse and park the vehicle.

Applicants who have already completed portions of the skills testing prior to August 28 will need to complete current versions of CDL Skills Testing. These applicants should continue to review and study the current Commercial Driver License Manual to prepare for each portion of the knowledge and driver skills test.

More information on commercial driver licenses and copies of the Commercial Driver License Manuals can be found on the Commercial Drivers page on PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website

Geisinger Encourages Ordering Free, At-Home COVID-19 Tests

Geisinger is encouraging the community to take advantage of ordering free, at-home COVID-19 tests through the new federal website.

Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order four free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests at and have them shipped right to their doorstep.

“COVID-19 testing is an essential tool in stopping the spread in our communities,” said Kurt J. Wrobel, Geisinger Health Plan president and executive vice president of insurance operations for Geisinger. “Over-the-counter tests can save you a trip to your doctor’s office, an urgent care clinic or a testing center. In fact, if you have mild or no symptoms, at-home testing is your most convenient and safest testing option, especially with the long wait times at urgent care clinics and testing centers. Due to high demand and limited supply, the easiest way to find at-home tests is through”

Tests available through the federal website are rapid antigen at-home tests. They can be taken anywhere and give results within 30 minutes, with no lab drop-off required.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or you’ve been around someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID — you meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for testing. If you have mild or no symptoms, at-home tests are an appropriate first step.

If you test positive on your at-⁠home test, follow the latest CDC guidance for isolation. If you test negative, you should test again within a few days with at least 24 hours between tests.

Learn more in our Coronavirus Resource Center at

Geisinger ConvenientCare Offering COVID-19 Tests for Travelers

Planning to travel and need to have a COVID-19 test before you go? Geisinger is offering COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for those aged 12 months and older at 18 ConvenientCare walk-in clinics throughout central and northeast Pennsylvania.

Travel tests are offered for a self-pay fee of $140. To get a test, you must have legal identification, such as a driver’s license, and anyone between age 12 months and 17 years old must have a parent or legal guardian with them. If your child is younger than 12 months, contact your pediatrician for advice on testing. Results will be available within 24 hours through myGeisinger.

You don’t need an appointment for a travel test at ConvenientCare, but you can save your spot in line to be seen at a clinic by visiting As travel requirements vary from destination to destination, make sure you’re tested at the right time before departing.

Find more information about COVID-19 travel tests here.