Two bills have been introduced to help eliminate duplicative background check and ease other burdens on CDL seekers.
The Transportation Security Administration Security Threat Assessment Application Modernization Act, introduced by Reps. Adam Smith (D-Washington) and John Katko (R-New York), will allow drivers to use a single valid background check from a TSA Security Threat Assessment to satisfy the vetting requirements for participation in any TSA program, including the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, Hazardous Materials Endorsement and PreCheck programs.
“Since 9/11, the federal government has created a number of secure credentials for commercial drivers to ensure the safety and security of our country,” said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear in a press release “However, with multiple credentials comes increased bureaucracy and costs that professional drivers must navigate. By simply relieving drivers of duplicative background checks – and the fees associated with them – we can streamline the process and ease the burden on these hard-working, patriotic men and women.”
The second bill, the Licensing Individual Commercial Exam-takers Now Safely and Efficiently Act, or LICENSE Act, will make permanent two waivers issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration seven times over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the LICENSE Act, third-party CDL skills test examiners are permitted to administer a state’s CDL knowledge test, in addition to the skills test. This provision gives license seekers additional avenues to take both required tests from a state-certified third-party, thus minimizing potential testing delays.
The bill allows states to administer the driving skills test to out-of-state license seekers regardless of where they received their training, and allows commercial learners permit holders who have already passed the required CDL skills test, but who have not yet received their physical credentials, to drive with a CDL holder anywhere in the truck, rather than requiring them to sit in the front seat next to the qualified CLP holder.
The LICENSE Act was introduced in the House by Reps. Darin LaHood (R-Illinois), Troy Balderson (R-Ohio), Josh Harder (D-California) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), and in the Senate by Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) and Mark Kelly (D-Arizona).
ATA supports these “common sense” bills, saying they will streamline the credentialing process for millions of professional truck drivers, easing a number of onerous and unnecessary burdens.
“With a shortage of roughly 80,000 drivers, we should be making the process of becoming a professional truck driver as user friendly as possible,” said Spear. “By making common sense changes to the CDL testing process and eliminating redundant background checks, we can cut red tape so these hardworking men and women can get on the road navigating our nation’s highways instead of navigating its bureaucracies.”