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USDOT Streamlines Rules for Aspiring Truck and Bus Drivers

December 18, 2020

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced a final rule to streamline the process for men and women interested in entering the trucking workforce. The new rule will allow states to permit a third-party skills test examiner to administer the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) skills test to applicants to whom the examiner has also provided skills training.

“During the COVID-19 public health emergency truckers have been American heroes—and the Department is committed to helping our economy by reducing unnecessary barriers for those interested in obtaining jobs in the trucking industry,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

Federal rules previously prohibited a third-party CDL skills instructor who is also authorized by the state to administer the CDL skills test from performing both the instruction and the qualifying testing for the same CDL applicant. The final rule announced today eliminates that restriction and permits states, at their discretion, to allow qualified third-party skills trainers to also conduct the skills testing for the same individual. This new rule is designed to alleviate testing delays and eliminate needless inconvenience and expense to the CDL applicant—without compromising safety.

“Under Secretary Chao’s 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. This new rule will provide states more flexibility during the ongoing public health emergency to test CDL applicants and allow more drivers to safely enter the industry,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Wiley Deck.

FMCSA has been focused on reducing regulatory barriers for CDL applicants. In March 2019, the agency authored a final rule streamlining the process and reducing costs to upgrade from a Class B to Class A CDL— a deregulatory action that will save eligible driver trainees and motor carriers $18 million annually.

The rule change is effective 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.

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