FMCSA proposes rules making it easier to secure commercial driver's license

On most days, news of a proposed rule being published in the Federal Register, the legal newspaper run by the National Archives and Records Administration, would fail to generate any real coverage or discussion. That's because most proposed rules, while important, are nevertheless written in an arcane style and/or cover an area of little interest to the general public.

Of course, there are always exceptions. For example, consider that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published two proposed rules earlier this week that, if adopted, would change the landscape of the trucking industry in the U.S.

Commercial Learner's Permits

The first proposed rule calls for states to be granted the authority to issue commercial learner's permits for up to 12 months with the option to renew for an additional six months. This would be a departure from the current rule, which sets the limit for issuing CLPs at six months.

According to the FMCSA, the proposed rule would help reduce additional fees and unnecessary testing for those men and women in need of additional time behind the wheel, meaning they won't be unfairly penalized for seeking another 180 days with a CLP.

Indeed, the proposed rule dictates that the driver would only be required to reapply if they fail to secure their commercial driver's license within the 12 months prior to the expiration of the CLP.

CDLs and armed forces personnel

The second proposed rule calls for the CDL knowledge test to be to be waived for those veterans, active duty personnel, National Guard and Reservists whose military duties within the previous year required operation of a commercial vehicle.

Interestingly enough, a rule published back in October called for the same military members to be able to apply for a skills test waiver.   

“Taken together, these two proposals will help ease the entry for thousands of qualified individuals into career opportunities as professional truck and bus drivers -- a critical occupation facing an acute labor shortage in our country,” said the FMCSA Deputy Administrator.

While these proposed rules seem like a viable solution, questions arise as to whether this streamlined approached to securing a CDL could have an impact on road safety.

What are your thoughts?

If you've been seriously injured or lost a loved one in an accident caused by the recklessness of a trucker, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your options for seeking justice. 

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