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FMCSA looking to streamline CDL testing for truck drivers

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced a proposed rule to streamline the process for men and women interested in entering the trucking workforce.

The proposal is intended to allow states greater flexibility in conducting skill tests for individuals seeking a commercial driver’s license (CDL), FMCSA said. The proposal would alleviate testing delays and eliminate needless inconvenience and expense to the CDL applicant—without compromising safety.

“The Department is committed to reducing unnecessary barriers to employment for men and women interested in obtaining jobs in the trucking industry,” said Elaine L. Chao, US Secretary of Transportation.

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. This proposal 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.

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

This proposal, if adopted, would be a deregulatory action as defined by Executive Order 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.”

FMCSA has been focused on reducing regulatory barriers for CDL applicants. In March, the agency authored a final rule streamlining the process and reducing costs to upgrade from a Class B to Class A CDL—a deregulatory action that will save eligible driver trainees and motor carriers $18 million annually, FMCSA said.

Upon publication in the Federal Register, a 60-day public comment period will commence.

A copy of the proposal, which includes information on submitting comments to the Federal Register Docket, is available at federalregister.gov/documents/2019/07/09/2019-14225/third-party-commercial-drivers-license-testers.

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