Aims to reduce regulatory burdens and mitigate delays in driver licensing that some state agencies experience.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed a rule to enhance the efficiency of tests and flexibility for applicants seeking a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). Partly based on a petition from the American Trucking Associations, the aim is to reduce regulatory burdens and alleviate delays in obtaining driving permits experienced by some state agencies.
According to the FMCSA, this proposal aims to address driver shortages by improving supply chain stability and providing regulatory relief without compromising safety. It’s worth noting that the proposed rule could impact states, third-party knowledge examiners, CDL applicants, Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers, and carriers. Potential changes include:
- Allowing CDL applicants to take the skills test in a state different from their residence.
- Permitting Commercial Learner’s Permit holders, after passing the skills test, to drive commercial vehicles on public roads without a qualified CDL holder in the passenger seat.
- Removing the requirement for applicants to wait at least 14 days before taking the skills test after the initial issuance of a Commercial Learner’s Permit.
- Mandating that third-party knowledge examiners comply with training, certification, and background check standards.
With the recent entry-level driver training rule, the FMCSA ensures confidence in out-of-state applicants meeting minimum training requirements. The proposal allows for assessing the skills of applicants from other regions, facilitating obtaining a CDL by scheduling tests in states with shorter waiting times.
Despite longstanding concerns about the use of third-party administrators, the FMCSA, in a Federal Register notice dated September 22, 2022, noted that the increased use of these administrators aims to streamline training, testing, and credentialing processes. This seeks to reduce delays, enabling aspiring truck drivers to efficiently obtain their commercial licenses.
The Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) strongly supports the proposed amendments by the FMCSA. It contends that these new processes will reduce administrative barriers in skills testing, enabling new drivers to access truck driving jobs efficiently. The FMCSA will accept public comments on the proposal for 60 days from its publication in the Federal Register.
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