Proposed rulemaking to streamline the process of getting would-be truck drivers a CDL has been rescinded by the FMCSA following a deeper review of the implications if they were to be passed.
Specifically, the rules would have allowed states to use third-party testing examiners to administer the commercial driver’s license skills test to students who also received training from the same testing facilities.
Additionally, the change in rulemaking would have allowed driver applicants to receive CDL general and specialized knowledge tests in a state other than their home state.
The rulemaking also would have made it so the applicants’ home state would have no choice but to accept the out-of-state knowledge exam results from third parties.
Industry Participants Comments
The reason for the drawback of the proposed rules is due to comments provided by industry participants who voiced their opinions. Further reinforcing the fact that commenting on proposed rulemaking coming from the FMCSA is NOT a lost cause.
Opposing Views Point Out The Flaws
In Pennsylvania, lawmakers argued that there is “No way to verify the person taking the knowledge test in another jurisdiction is, in fact, the same person taking the skills test later in the process,” stating also that “The Commercial Skills Test Information Management System does not provide a mechanism for verification with other jurisdictions.”
In Virginia, the main concern was with security. Stating that “the requirement to issue a CLP (commercial learner’s permit) ‘remotely’ undermines the current processes Virginia has in place to ensure that a credential is securely issued to the applicant.”
California questioned the security of the mentioned ‘remote delivery requirement’ as well. Saying they couldn’t trust that a CLP issued in their state was actually delivered to an out-of-state address.
In Montana, the issue had to do with “grave concerns about the real and substantial threat of fraudulent activity”
If you were to look at the public comments on the proposed changes, you would see that most of the comments were in opposition to the proposed changes. Stating concerns about fraud, conflict of interest, and/or examiner bias.
For example, probably the most straight-to-the-point comment:
“The proposed rule removes the necessary impartiality of the CDL examiner, allowing the instructor to fail or pass student drivers with whom they have developed a relationship. This is not a fair assessment of the candidates’ abilities.”
The implications of fraudulent testing could spell big trouble in the real world. We’ve all seen drivers on the road where we have to wonder who furnished them with a license to drive a commercial vehicle. Finding the answer to that would become a lot more difficult if these changes were to be passed.
Supporters of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
The organizations that commented in support of the proposed rule-making, believed that lifting restrictions would not compromise safety, due to the ‘extensive’ fraud detection measures already in place. Sounds familiar, right?
The CVTA commented, “Third-party testing occurs within a powerful network of state and federal regulation . . . which upholds the integrity of the examination process because it monitors examiner activity to prevent fraud.”
Greyhound Lines, Inc. stated, “Allowing Greyhound trainers to administer the CDL test to the drivers they train enables the drivers who pass the test to start their work assignments earlier than if they have to wait for a State-administered test.”
As per usual, the FMCSA carefully reviewed all public comments on the matter. Despite the comments in support of the change in licensing standards, the FMCSA hereby withdraws the July 9th, 2019, NPRM that would have increased the efficiency of issuing licenses to would-be commercial drivers. Retaining the pre-existing regulations that state that third-party skills test examiners may not administer the CDL skills test to applicants who received training from their training facility.
Straight from the FMCSA:
“FMCSA has therefore decided to retain the current regulation (49 CFR 383.75(a)(7)) prohibiting States from permitting a third party skills test examiner to administer the CDL skills test to applicants to whom the examiner has also provided skills training. The Agency hereby withdraws July 9, 2019, NPRM referenced above, based on the same legal authorities on which it issued the NPRM, set forth at 84 FR 32689, 32691.”