Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) to exempt firefighters, police and other emergency responders from commercial drivers’ licensing (CDL) requirements when driving emergency vehicles was passed in the Assembly today. Hawley supported a similar measure that was contained as part of this year’s enacted State Budget, however, this legislation clarifies that section of law to allow first responders to drive emergency vehicles in situations such as returning from the scene of an emergency or community event without having a CDL.
“Our emergency first responders put their lives on the line in order to protect us. In light of current fiscal times and budget cuts, we owe it to these everyday heroes to ensure their valuable time and resources are most efficiently spent. Not only will this legislation help reduce redundancy in state law, but it will save our first responder time and money that could be better spent training them to protect us,” said Hawley, who recently announced the creation of a new local scholarship program for volunteer firefighters and emergency service workers at Genesee Community College.
As part of this year’s enacted State Budget, emergency responders were made exempt from CDL requirements in emergency situations. However, a loophole in the law still required first responders to obtain, and pay for, a CDL in order to drive emergency vehicles in other official non-emergency business, such as commercial building inspections, fire hydrant inspections, parades, funerals and other not-for-profit official business. Assembly bill A.6051-A corrects this.