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FMCSA Eases CDL Process for States

March 26, 2013

By Oliver Patton

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The agency agreed that it is too burdensome to require states to conduct background checks on all test examiners. Now the checks are required only when the examiner is hired.
The agency agreed that it is too burdensome to require states to conduct background checks on all test examiners. Now the checks are required only when the examiner is hired.

In response to petitions from states and the industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is changing provisions of its commercial driver’s license rule.

The rule, which has been in effect since 2011, sets standards for CDL testing and established the Commercial Learner’s Permit.

The agency is making a half-dozen changes, mainly affecting procedures for handling the CDL process.

Among the changes:

  • The agency eased its requirement that two license agency employees verify an applicant’s documents. It acknowledged that this is burdensome and said the intent is to make sure that more than one employee participate substantively in the licensing process, rather than to require two employees to separately review each document.
  • The current rule says training schools may not skills-test the applicants they have trained unless there is no place else to do the testing within 50 miles. The agency acknowledged that this is too restrictive and said it is all right for the school to do the testing, as long as the trainer is not the one who does it.
  • The agency eliminated the requirement that third-party CDL testers that are governmental entities maintain bonds to cover re-testing of drivers if fraud is uncovered.
  • The current rule says states may not use a digital color image or a black and white laser engraved photo of the driver on the learner’s permit. The agency agreed that this is too restrictive and said the states may use these techniques if they choose.
  • The agency agreed that it is too burdensome to require states to conduct background checks on all test examiners. Now the checks are required only when the examiner is hired.

The new rule takes effect April 24. For more details see yesterday’s Federal Register.

Comments

  1. 1. Clarence Brown [ March 27, 2013 @ 07:06AM ]

    Retired Driver and O/O, With documented five and a half million miles driving. Having encountered company student, and trainers, I find it worrisome that these companies can take students money and then put them on the road with someone that has himself been out of school for a couple of months. The politics of the HOS is laughable. If you are going to be in charge of driver training and the safe operation of commercial vehicles. You first have to have driven OTR for at least two to four years because trainers need to have the experience of all aspects of what is involved in trucks and trucking. Shoving students out on the road after only one to six months behind the wheel is unsafe and dangerous for the public in general.
    Drivers are not programmable robots and most trainers and instructors are not truck drivers. I've always said there people that drive and people that steer. Truck driving is not a hobby, It is a profession. it is stressful and dangerous for the driver that can lose his ability to make a living because of someone else's inability to drive safely and cause accidents that are not truck drivers faults, Don't get me wrong there are a lot of drivers that can't drive safely. But the ones that do still get a mark against their records and their DAC doesn't differentiate between the two. Putting good and bad drivers in the same category No amount of training can prepare you to drive for all the other vehicles you encounter daily. I'm just glad I'm not eighteen and hoping that a driving career would be my chosen profession, as it was for fifty years and still going part time. Thanks for the time and space to comment..

  2. 2. C Willoughby [ March 29, 2013 @ 10:56AM ]

    Retired Schnieder Driver. I have 14 yrs and 1,750,000 verifiable safe miles and it concerns me that new drivers are training newer drivers. I agree with Mr. Brown trainers should have at least 2 yrs. over the road and have passed thorough training and testing, before the are qualified to train new drivers. Lets face it the schools only teach you how to guilde the truck down the road and pass a skills test they have practiced many times, the rest is up to a seasoned trainer. The laws need to be tough on a student driver because the laws are tough on a driver and thats what us all safe.

 

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