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Arizona officials pass measures to ease burdens on truckers

Arizona officials pass measures to ease burdens on truckers
A big rig travels through the Arizona desert.

PHOENIX — Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) announced two initiatives Thursday designed to help relieve the supply chain strain and make life easier on truckers.

Ducey said the state is reopening two long-closed rest stops so commercial drivers have additional opportunities to rest and is extending the validity of commercial driving learner’s permits. Arizona will also be working closely with other states to pass similar measures, Ducey’s office said.

“We are working to make sure commercial drivers and Arizona families have the support they need this holiday season,” Ducey said. “Prices are rising and commercial drivers are under an incredible amount of stress as they transport goods. Today’s action will help alleviate this stress. My thanks to the Arizona Department of Transportation for streamlining requirements for commercial drivers and strengthening Arizona’s supply chain.”

ADOT Director John Halikowski said that his state’s highways “are critical for our economy, and the trucking industry is one of the key transportation modes for moving goods through our state and around the country. We are pleased to take these steps to make processes easier, while enhancing safety for commercial drivers at this important time of the year.”

To facilitate more commercial drivers being able to obtain credentials, through executive order, the governor will extend the validity of the commercial learners’ permit (CLP) from six months to one year, in alignment with federal law.

This gives a student more time to fulfill training requirements without having to reapply for a new permit. The purpose of the CLP is to allow a student to operate a commercial motor vehicle for training purposes with a licensed driver present.

The executive order, in alignment with the current federal waiver, will temporarily allow a commercial driver to keep their CDL past the date that the person’s medical certification is required, until Feb. 28, 2022.

CDLs are regulated by the federal government.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) previously initiated a series of waivers, including one that allows a driver to keep their CDL active temporarily after the expiration of a medical certificate. Arizona will adopt this practice temporarily, until Feb. 28, 2022, to keep current CDL holders on the road and alleviate supply chain challenges. CDL holders can upload documents online, as well as verify the status of their Arizona medical certificate, at azmvdnow.gov.

Using recent guidance provided by FMCSA, ADOT will move forward with rulemaking to open commercial driver license services to Authorized Third Party providers. During the 2021 legislative session, HB 2134 was signed into law, allowing ADOT to expand commercial driver license services to its authorized third party providers.

As CDLs are regulated primarily by the federal government, ADOT requested and received guidance from FMCSA to determine which actions would be permitted under federal law. Once fully implemented, individuals will have expanded options to receive CDL services from Authorized Third Party providers, providing an increase in convenience and accessibility to obtain a license.

Accessibility to rest stops

Last week, Ducey directed ADOT to reopen two previously closed rest areas at Parks (Interstate 40) and Christiansen (Interstate 17).

Both are now open to serve the public, providing additional opportunities for drivers to park and rest. This is a temporary measure, however, as these rest areas will only be open through Jan. 18, 2022. The move is to provide relief for critical deliveries during the holiday season, state officials said.

Arizona officials are also launching the Arizona Transportation Consultancy Project, which, they say, will strengthen and further enable ADOT to collaborate with other states and adopt similar improvements that Arizona has implemented.

“Jumpstarting the supply chain is a cross-jurisdictional issue that requires the improvement of processes across multiple states,” a news release stated. “Arizona has undertaken many successful initiatives to make obtaining a CDL and the necessary permits simpler and more accessible to drivers, including the expansion of online services.”

ADOT is also upgrading the Medical Examiner Certificate (MEC) submission process to allow handwritten MECs to be processed digitally, using advanced technology; expanding CDL services to authorized third party providers; and preparing to modernize its commercial vehicle permitting system.

“While these efforts have produced excellent results for Arizona, improvements can’t be confined to Arizona to solve our nation’s supply chain issues,” the news release stated.

“The Arizona Consultancy Project will help other states achieve similar improvements. By sharing best practices and ideas found in the Arizona Management System, providing technical assistance on implementation of programs and sharing state-created intellectual property, processes can be improved across the country.”

The Trucker News Staff

The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.
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