Photo: Neil Abt/Fleet Owner
“Reducing burdens and expenses on CDL applicants has the potential to increase the number of available drivers,' FMCSA's Ray Martinez says.

FMCSA aims to add new flexibility for CDL testing

July 24, 2019
FMCSA is proposing allowing an applicant seeking a CDL to take general and specialized knowledge tests in a state other than his or her state of residence.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing allowing an applicant seeking a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to take general and specialized knowledge tests in a state other than his or her state of residence.  

The agency said the proposal will increase flexibility for driver applicants by reducing time and travel expenditures, while having no detrimental impact on safety.

“Reducing burdens and expenses on CDL applicants has the potential to increase the number of available drivers.  With the American economy continuing to grow at record pace, the need for more commercial drivers is critical. This proposal offers commonsense regulatory changes that will help CDL applicants, without compromising safety,” said Raymond Martinez, FMCSA administrator. 

FMCSA said states will not be forced to offer the tests to out-of-state applicants.  However, if the testing takes place, those states would then transmit the results to the applicant’s home state. That state would be required under the proposal to accept the results.

The agency said it is accepting public comments on the proposal. Additional information can be found on FMCSA’s web site.

Separately, the agency recently said it was extending its comment period to Aug. 14 on the potential pilot program that would allow drivers younger than the age of 21 to operate a truck in interstate commerce under limited circumstances.

FMCSA is also accepting comments following an announcement it is seeking a two-year extension for the compliance date of two provisions in a final rule on minimum training requirements for entry-level commercial drivers.

The delay to February 2022 is aimed at providing the agency more time to complete development of an electronic interface to receive and store certification information.

About the Author

Neil Abt

Neil Abt, editorial director at Fleet Owner, is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting experience, including 15 years spent covering the trucking industry. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., he began his career covering sports for The Washington Post newspaper, followed by a position in the newsroom of America Online (AOL) and then both reporting and leadership roles at Transport Topics. Abt is based out of Portland, Oregon.

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