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FMCSA proposes new rule to streamline CDL licensing for truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed a rule to expedite CDL licensing, consisting of measures like allowing permit holders to drive without a CDL holder present once they've passed their skills test.

The big picture: This initiative aims to increase testing efficiency and expedite the time it takes for applicants to become fully licensed, skilled commercial drivers.

What's changing: Traditionally, learners with a commercial learner's permit (CLP) have been required to have a CDL holder in the front passenger seat while on public roads. The proposed rule would remove this condition provided they carry evidence of passing their skills test.

  • This move is expected to maintain road safety while boosting the efficacy of CDL issuance.

Additional proposals: Other changes include eliminating mandatory training in the state where CDL skills tests are conducted and removing the 14-day waiting period for CLP holders to take their skills test.

  • Empty passenger CMVs may be operated without a passenger (P) endorsement during specific transport conditions according to another suggested change.

Third-party testing: A provision under consideration would align training and certification standards for third-party knowledge examiners with those for state examiners, including auditing and monitoring requirements.

Next steps: The FMCSA will accept public comments on these proposals for sixty days. Stakeholders and individuals can contribute to the discussion by submitting comments online via regulations.gov using Docket No. FMCSA-2023-0115.

Decisions on these proposals are pending the public commentary review, but if enacted, they could reshape the CDL training and testing landscape, benefiting the trucking industry and those eager to join it.

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