June 27, 2019

FMCSA rule would streamline testing for CDL license

Proposed change would grant states more flexibility in conducting skill tests for prospective truck drivers.

By DC Velocity Staff

A proposed federal rule would help people enter the trucking workforce more easily by granting states more flexibility in awarding commercial driver's licenses (CDLs), the U.S. Department of Transportation said today.

The rule would streamline the process for men and women interested in trucking jobs by allowing states greater flexibility in conducting skill tests for the commercial driver's license (CDL), according to the DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) arm.

According to FMCSA, the change would alleviate testing delays and eliminate needless inconvenience and expense to the CDL applicant, all without compromising safety.

Federal rules currently do not permit a CDL skills instructor who is also authorized by the state to administer the CDL skills test to perform both the instruction and the qualifying testing for the same CDL applicant. The proposal announced today would eliminate that restriction and permit states the discretion to allow qualified third-party skills trainers to also conduct the skills testing for the same individual, FMCSA said. 

"We continue to examine opportunities to provide common-sense regulatory relief to states and to individuals seeking to obtain a CDL. This proposal will provide states more flexibility, while maintaining safety on our roadways," FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez said in a release. "I encourage all interested parties to review the proposal and to offer their comments to the docket."

Upon publication in the Federal Register, a 60-day public comment period will commence. The proposal is available online, including information on submitting comments to the Federal Register Docket.

The potential change in regulations is the latest effort by FMCSA to encourage more workers to enter the truck driving ranks, following programs that would make it easier for military veterans and for younger drivers to gain their CDLs.

It comes amid rising safety concerns about the process of monitoring CDL holders after a deadly New Hampshire crash caused by a driver for a Massachusetts trucking fleet who had a history of drug and alcohol arrests. The incident led to the resignation of the head of the state's registry of motor vehicles (RMV).

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