TRENTON, N.J. — A new law in New Jersey aims to accelerate the process of getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL) by enabling private vendors to provide testing.
A-3946, which was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie on Feb. 6, establishes a pilot program in which the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission will appoint three third-party vendors to administer the knowledge and skills tests for CDLs and endorsements.
Those vendors, to be located in the northern, central, and southern regions of the state, have to be fully operational within 90 days of the passage of the bill, which went into effect immediately.
The bill’s backers said in a press release that the program will help put more truckers and bus drivers to work in New Jersey. According to Assemblyman John Burzichelli, one of the sponsors of the legislation, it often takes months to get a CDL test appointment through the state’s current process.
"There are people in New Jersey who are capable of driving for a living and want to pursue good job opportunities but can't, because they have to wait months for a chance to take the CDL examination,” Burzichelli said. “That doesn't just hurt them as individuals. It hurts our entire economy.”
Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, another sponsor of the bill, said that third-party vendors “will help expedite the CDL process and allow people to earn a living as drivers as soon as possible.”
State law previously authorized the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to appoint third-party vendors to administer CDL testing, but it reportedly did not establish guidelines for testing or give the agency the power to contract with the vendors. The pilot program will create a framework for the use of third-party vendors.
The Motor Vehicle Commission will be responsible for overseeing the CDL testing by the private vendors, including setting maximum fees that they can charge. That amount will be equivalent to the cost to the state for administering the testing.
Nine months after the bill’s effective date, the chief administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission will be required to submit an evaluation of the pilot program with recommendations to facilitate the permanent use of third-party vendors for CDL testing.