FMCSA Proposes “Flexibility” to Allow CDL Applicants to Test Outside Home State

Washington D.C. – On Wednesday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a proposed rule that would allow commercial driver’s license (CDL) applicants to take general and specialized knowledge tests in a state other than the applicant’s state of residence.

The agency says this proposal will “reduce burdens and costs” and “increase flexibility for driver applicants by reducing time and travel expenditures, while having no detrimental impact on safety.”

The agency says the objective of this proposed rule is to “promote further flexibility in the CDL issuance processes.”

 

Under this proposed rule, a state would not be required to offer the knowledge tests to out-of-state applicants.

However, if the testing state elects to offer the knowledge tests to these applicants, it would transmit the results to the state of domicile, which would be required to accept the results.

“Reducing burdens and expenses on CDL applicants has the potential to increase the number of available drivers, said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.

“With the American economy continuing to grow at record pace, the need for more commercial drivers is critical.  This proposal offers common sense regulatory changes that will help CDL applicants, without compromising safety,” Martinez said.


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This new proposed rule is yet another step in the agency’s stated goal of “reducing regulatory barriers for CDL applicants.”

In March 2019, the agency authored a final rule streamlining the process and reducing costs to upgrade from a Class B to Class A CDL— a deregulatory action FMCSA claims will save eligible driver trainees and motor carriers $18 million annually.

 

Additionally, in June 2019, the agency published a deregulatory proposal that will allow a CDL skills instructor, who is also authorized by the state to administer the CDL skills test, to perform both the instruction and the qualifying testing for the same CDL applicant.

FMCSA contends the new proposals will “eliminate needless inconvenience and expense to CDL applicants.”

The newest proposed rule will have a 60-day public comment period.

A copy of the proposal, which includes information on submitting comments to the Federal Register Docket, is available HERE.


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