Tuesday, December 22 2020
Orlando, Fla.—The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced a new rule that makes it easier for drivers to get their Commercial Driver’s License. FMCSA has been focused on 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 that will save eligible driver trainees and motor carriers $18 million annually.
Federal rules previously prohibited a third-party CDL skills instructor who is also authorized by the state to administer the CDL skills test from performing both the instruction and the qualifying testing for the same CDL applicant. This rule eliminates that restriction and allows the states, at their discretion, to accept qualified third-party skills trainers to also conduct the skills testing for the same individual.
The new rule is designed to alleviate testing delays and eliminate needless inconvenience and expense to the CDL applicant—without compromising safety. Especially now, when many families are looking to find more ways to get employed, the FMCSA said this new rule is expected to reduce delays in skills testing, thus help families get back on track with their source of income. Despite a large amount of comments which opposed the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FMCSA stated that the agency does not expect the new rule will diminish highway safety due to the extensive requirements and resources that are currently in place to help FMCSA and the states maintain the integrity of the process and identify irregularities in skills testing.
According to Elain Chao, U.S. Secretary of Transportation—This new rule will provide states more flexibility during the ongoing public health emergency to test CDL applicants and allow more drivers to safely enter the industry.
The final rule was published on December 17 of this year but will go into effect 60 days after it is published by the Federal Register.
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