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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a proposed rule July 24 meant to ease the process for people pursuing a commercial driver license.
The rule would allow CDL applicants to take the required general and specialized knowledge tests in a state other than their state of residence. However, the proposed rule stipulates that a state would not be required to offer the tests to out-of-state applicants. If the state elects to offer the tests to these applicants, it would have to send the results to applicants’ state of residence, which would be required to accept them.
According to a press release from FMCSA, the proposal is meant to increase flexibility by reducing time and travel expenditures for applicants.
“Reducing burdens and expenses on CDL applicants has the potential to increase the number of available drivers,” FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez said in the press release. “With the American economy continuing to grow at record pace, the need for more commercial drivers is critical. This proposal offers common-sense regulatory changes that will help CDL applicants, without compromising safety.”
— FMCSA (@FMCSA) July 24, 2019
American Trucking Associations released data July 24 indicating that the industry is short at least 60,800 drivers.
After publication in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to comment on FMCSA’s proposal.
This proposed rule marks the latest in the agency’s efforts to reduce regulatory barriers. FMCSA proposed a rule June 27 that would eliminate a current federal rule that does not permit a CDL skills instructor who is authorized by the state to administer a CDL skills test to perform both the instruction and the test for the same applicant. Additionally, the proposal would give states the discretion to allow qualified third-party trainers to also conduct skills testing for the same person.
In March, FMCSA presented a final rule that would reduce the costs of upgrading from a Class B CDL to a Class A CDL, an action projected to save eligible driver trainees and carriers $18 million annually.