Easier Access to CDL Knowledge Tests
Federal regulators are discussing easier access to knowledge tests for prospective trucks drivers to obtain their commercial driver’s license (CDL). The American Trucking Association published a report on July 24 stating that the industry is short nearly 61,000 drivers. Due to commercial truck driver shortages in the recent months, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is taking steps to get more drivers behind the wheel. The goal of the CDL regulation changes is to reduce burdens and expenses to CDL prospects without compromising safety standards.
The proposal says that states may choose to offer the CDL general and specialized knowledge tests to out-of-state drivers. Furthermore, states that offer tests to out-of-state drivers will send test results to the applicant’s state of residence. States that elect to test out-of-state drivers will need to modify their commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and CDL upgrade processes. Additionally, states with higher entry-level driver standards will accept out-of-state skills test results from prospective drivers. However, concerns arose regarding this ruling that states with higher standards will not accept out-of-state test results.
This proposal by the FMCSA is the most recent effort to reduce regulatory barriers for prospective drivers to obtain their CLP or CDL. Additionally, in March of this year, the FMCSA presented another rule to reduce the cost of upgrading CDL classes. The March rule alone will save prospective truck drivers an estimated $18 million per year.
FMCSA CDL Regulations Timeline
According to a recent Federal Registrar notice, published on July 18, the FMCSA is delaying provisions to its entry-level driver training. The rule, originally set to go into effect on February 7, 2020, is currently set to go into effect on February 7, 2022. The rule will set minimum standards of knowledge and on-the-road training for carriers. Furthermore, the program will require out-of-state training providers to send electronic notifications and test results to the FMCSA driver’s state of residence. The hope of extending the deadline is that the agency and parties involved have more time to complete the IT infrastructure needed to implement the program.
Additionally, the FMCSA opened a 60-day public comment period to gather feedback on the newest proposed regulation. Authorities worry that states with higher testing standards than the federal minimum will not be okay with accepting out-of-state test results for drivers-in-training. California and Washington are the 2 most notable states with higher testing standards for drivers.
BM2 Freight Services, Inc.
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