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.