A proposed rulemaking under consideration by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration aims to increase commercial driver’s licensing flexibility.
What the New CDL Rule Would Do
If approved, this rulemaking would:
- Expand a CDL applicant’s ability to take a skills test in a state other than their state of domicile.
- Allow a commercial learner’s permit holder who has passed the skills test to operate a commercial motor vehicle (such as a school bus) on public roads without having a qualified CDL holder as a passenger.
- Eliminate the requirement that an applicant wait at least 14 days to take the skills test after initial issuance of the CLP.
- Remove the requirement that CMV drivers have a passenger endorsement if they’re transporting a school bus in a driveaway-towaway operation without passengers.
- Require third-party knowledge examiners be subject to training, certification, and record check standards currently applicable to state knowledge examiners.
How Is the Proposal Being Received?
The proposed rulemaking has yielded more than 100 comments so far.
“Ever since the ELDT rule came out, I have not had a single applicant be willing to ‘start over’ with the CDL process just for the P endorsement,” wrote Jason Cupp.
“Existing CDL A or B holders should not be made to take the entire ELDT course simply to add a P endorsement to their license,” stated the comment from Hampton Jitney, Inc. “As a passenger-carrying operator, this requirement would severely reduce our ability to find new drivers as many come to us with an A or B license without the P endorsement. Passenger-carrying operators are already facing an extreme shortage of drivers and this would serve to increase that shortage.”
Molli Coleman disagreed with the plan to eliminate the 14-day waiting period because that time could be effectively used to let new drivers to work with experienced drivers that are riding with them.
Wrote Dawn Wheeler: “For an agency that is supposed to be all about SAFETY, I cannot understand the logic in this proposal. By not requiring a CDL holder to be present when a permitted driver is behind the wheel is the height of foolishness. The ONLY way to learn actual safe driving is behind the wheel WITH an experienced CDL driver.”
The FMCSA is accepting comments about the proposal until April 2.