WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing several changes in an effort to “increase flexibility” for state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) and commercial driver’s license (CDL) applicants.
According to the FMCSA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the changes would: Allow applicants to take a CDL skills test in a state other than their state of residence; permit a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holder who has passed the CDL skills test to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) on public roads without having a qualified CDL holder in the passenger seat; and eliminate the requirement that an applicant wait at least 14 days to take the CDL skills test following initial issuance of the CLP.
The NPRM also notes that the FMCSA proposes to remove the requirement that CMV drivers must have a passenger endorsement to transport CMVs designed to carry passengers, including school buses, when the vehicle is being transported in a driveaway-towaway operation and the vehicle is not carrying any passengers.
Additionally, FMCSA proposes to require that third-party knowledge examiners be subject to the training, certification and record check standards currently applicable to state knowledge examiners and third-party knowledge testers be subject to the auditing and monitoring requirements now applicable to third-party skills testers.
“Because these drivers have already met all the requirements for a CDL but have yet to pick up the CDL document from their state of domicile, their safety performance would be the same as a newly credentialed CDL holder,” the FMCSA wrote in the NPRM. “Additionally, having a CDL driver accompany the (permit holder) who has successfully passed all required CDL skills testing and prerequisites provides some additional supervision that is otherwise not required for newly credentialed CDL drivers in physical possession of the CDL document.”
The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposal once it’s published on the Federal Register, which is expected to happen in the next few days,
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.