Despite receiving a majority of opposition comments to its Final Rule, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has decided to make it easier to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The new regulation waves the requirement that prevented third-party CDL skills instructors from being both instructor and tester for the same CDL applicant.
The final rule says, “FMCSA allows States to permit a third-party skills test examiner to administer the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) skills test to applicants whom the examiner has also provided skills training, a practice previously prohibited under FMCSA regulations.”
The decision rests with the states who now can allow instructors to test their own students. The new rule is another example of the Trump Administration looking to cut through what it sees as overregulation in order to help the economy.
“Under Secretary Chao’s (Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao) leadership, the Trump administration has continued to examine ways to provide common-sense regulatory reform and help individuals seeking to enter the commercial driver industry,” said Wiley Deck, deputy administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Opponents of the new rule cite fraud as a major problem in loosening the requirements for licensing. The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) said that “enforcement will be necessary to eliminate the possibility for fraud by bad actors who simply want to profit monetarily from the new regulatory flexibility.”
At the same time, however, TCA also provided reasons for the change. In 2016, drivers applying for a CDL lost more than 6.4 million days of delays because of skills tests and retests. At least $1.5 million in wages were lost as a result.
In the final rule, the FMCSA said it, “concludes that lifting the restriction…will provide flexibility to States, third party testers, and CDL applicants, while maintaining the integrity of the skills testing process. Therefore, FMCSA expects this rule to result in cost savings for CDL applicants, third party testers, and motor carrier employers.”
The new licensing flexibility will go into effect in February.