The new, modernized CDL test is an alternative option rather than a replacement for the current...

The new, modernized CDL test is an alternative option rather than a replacement for the current CDL exam.

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A new, modernized version of the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) test is now available. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) approved the new test in August.

About the Test

Vehicle technologies and components like braking, steering, suspension systems, and more have continued to evolve at a fast pace. This led the FMCSA and American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) to jointly evaluate existing vehicle inspection (VI) and basic control skills (BCS) tests beginning in 2018, AAMVA President and CEO Anne Ferro explained at the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) 54th Annual Conference.

The modernized tests were evaluated using experienced drivers, new drivers, and student drivers, as well as CDL examiners. Testing vehicles included a broad range of Class A and Class B commercial vehicles.

The modernized test does not replace other tests. It is another option. Jurisdictions can offer the modernized version, the current version, or both versions of the CDL exam as there is no mandate to offer the modernized test. It has the same high standards for assessing an entry-level commercial driver’s ability, using up-to-date technology.

What’s Included in the New Test

Chapters 11 and 12 in the 2005 CDL Driver Manual were rewritten to reflect the changes discussed in the test development, according to AAMVA’s website. The new VI and BCS Chapters will be:

  • Module 11M Overview of the VI
  • Module 12M Overview of the BCS

Chapters 4 and 5 in the 2005 CDL Examiner’s Manual were rewritten to ensure that all the guidance for the examiners was correct and complete for the new tests. The updated chapters included scripts for examiners to use to provide test instructions to applicants. The new VI and BCS Chapters for the Examiners Manual will be:

  • Module 4M Overview of the VI slides – edits made to slides 6-10, 18, 22, and 31
  • Module 5M Overview of the BCS slides – edits made to slides 6-9, 22, 34-35, and 67

What About ELDT?

FMCSA Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rules still require training based on the current version of the test. The modernized test is similar in many ways to the current version.

Tools Offered by AAMVA

Training for experienced examiners and ‘Train the Trainer’ programs will be offered to jurisdictions in the coming months.

To request CDL Test System Materials, select "Driver Testing" from the subject drop-down on AAMVA’s Contact Us page.

About the author
Christy Grimes

Christy Grimes

Senior Editor

Christy Grimes is a Senior Editor at Bobit, working on Automotive Fleet and Government Fleet publications. She has also written for School Bus Fleet.

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