Safety & Compliance

FMCSA Grants C.R. England Driver Training Exemption

June 11, 2015

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Photo via C.R. England
Photo via C.R. England

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has granted C.R. England an exemption from a training rule regarding drivers with a commercial learner’s permit.

The rule requires drivers with a CLP to be accompanied by a commercial driver’s license holder seated in the front seat of the vehicle while undergoing behind-the-wheel training on public roads. With the exemption, a learner's permit holder who has documentation of passing the CDL skills test does not need to have a CDL driver in the front seat.

This change would allow CLP holders to drive as part of a team and give them the same flexibility as CDL drivers while they wait to obtain their CDL from their state DMV.  With the exemption, learner's permit holders will be able to be productive sooner, saving the company costs and increasing their productivity prior to obtaining a full CDL. C.R. England requested the exemption on the basis of the trucking industry’s need for qualified, well-trained drivers.

“The exemption is not seeking a reprieve from any testing or training standards, but instead is seeking to allow qualified drivers to begin providing for their families rather than having to cut through unnecessary bureaucratic red tape,” stated C.R. England.

Drivers who have a CLP and have passed the CDL skills test are as functionally qualified as CDL holders; they simply haven’t received their CDL from a licensing agency, contended C.R. England in asking for the exemption.

The FMCSA held a public comment period on this decision before granting the exemption in which they received 274 comments from several transportation companies and associations.

The American Trucking Associations was among those commenting, endorsing C.R. England’s exemption.

“Because such drivers have already successfully passed both knowledge and skills tests, they could be presumed to have demonstrated safety performance equally as safe as a driver holding a CDL,” stated the ATA. “Only formalities in the drivers’ state of domicile prevent the driver from already holding such a credential.”

Not everyone who commented backed up C.R. England’s request, including groups like the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association.

The CVSA stated that “granting yet another regulatory exception only serves to confound law enforcement and the industry’s understanding of the rules.”

OOIDA stated that the the owner-operator group, "as a general policy, does not believe FMCSA should exempt large motor carriers from the agency’s CDL training-related regulations.”

Ultimately, the FMCSA granted the exemption, agreeing with C.R. England’s argument that a commercial learner's permit holder who has passed the CDL skills is no different than a driver who has recently received their CDL.

“There is no quantitative data or other information that having a CDL holder accompany a CLP holder who has passed the skills test improves safety,” stated the FMCSA. “Because these drivers have passed the CDL skills test, the only thing necessary to obtain the CDL is to apply at the Department of Motor Vehicles in their State of domicile.”


  1. 1. Mike [ June 11, 2015 @ 07:04PM ]

    Oh boy... I have ran across a few England drivers over the years, and have not been impressed. I can see it now, the guy gets his hard copy CDL after spending four weeks with his learner's permit... Week 5, he is now a certified trainer with a fresh faced student permit holder riding shotgun. LOL! The insanity just never seems to stop.

  2. 2. Williebill [ June 12, 2015 @ 08:53AM ]

    I have worked as an instructor at a community college's truck driving academy, plus been a company driver trainer. Just because a person has passed the CDL exam does not mean they can operate the vehicle safely. From experience a new driver needs front seat instruction and monitoring to be safe on the road after the CDL license test is passed for at least six months depending upon the person. The coordination and decision making skills have not been developed at the beginning pre, or post testing stage of pro-driving. He or she should be required to be signed off by a senior trainer, and meet certain safety standards before being trusted in the front seat by themselves. This is a bad decision by the FMCSA. Now we will wait to see the results.

  3. 3. Rich [ June 12, 2015 @ 09:03AM ]

    You see an England truck, get off the road as quick as possible.
    If you are at a shippers and one of them pulls in, do not take your eyes off of your truck if England is anywhere near it, YOU WILL BE SORRY!
    That companys training program has always been a joke, just a way for those mormons to make more money without paying a decent wage...Oh I forgot they grant drivers a way to make extra $$$...Unload your own trucks for a small percentage of what a lumper charges.

  4. 4. James Alford [ June 12, 2015 @ 12:21PM ]

    They keep talking about safety as reasons for computer logs and all these other rules, but yet yhey allow a person with little or no experience behind the wheel of a 80000 lb truck. If they were really concerned about safety they would requie new drivers to go through an apprenticeship of at least 6 months to a year. But it want happen because all the rules and regulations are not about safety, it is about running the small companies out of business.

  5. 5. stephen w [ June 28, 2015 @ 11:59AM ]

    I have trained many new truck drivers that came into Canada james is 100% right a apprenticeship is a very good idea. The large companies want run the smaller companies out of business . No company should be able to bring in more than 3 truck drivers per year. Many England truck drivers go back to non trucking jobs because very poor pay per hour worked.


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