Overdrive Staff | July 01, 2011

Coalition objects to driver test rule

Industry groups have asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to reconsider a final rule that would, with one exception, prevent third-party testers from administering skills tests to applicants trained at the testers’ commercial school.

The American Trucking Associations, Commercial Vehicle Training Association, National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, Truckload Carriers Association and the Professional Truck Driver Institute filed a Petition for Reconsideration with the FMCSA.

Coalition members want to reconsider the prohibition contained in the May 9 Commercial Learners’ Permits rule, effective June 8. FMCSA will allow an exception if the nearest alternative third-party tester or state skills testing facility is more than 50 miles from the training school.

The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the petition, but stated in the rule that the provision is intended to reduce the chance of fraud and bias in testing.

FMCSA did not provide opportunity for commentators on the 2008 proposal to respond to the new stipulation inserted in the rule, which they say lacks a valid cost/benefit analysis. “It will substantially impact literally hundreds of training organizations that currently use third-party test administrators to test their students,” the petitioners said.

According to the coalition, the rule provides adequate safeguards to ensure the quality of third-party testers.

The May 9 rule notes Oregon’s Department of Motor Vehicles and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver’s Association suggested the restriction in comments filed on the 2008 rule proposal. The statements were not noticed for comment by other parties before issuing the rule, the organizations said.

California does not permit third-party testing and currently has testing appointments backlogged for 45 days, the groups added.

— Jill Dunn


INTERMODAL EQUIPMENT operators wouldn’t have to submit or retain driver-vehicle inspection reports if the driver hasn’t been made aware of any equipment defects, under a proposal by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The proposed rule responds to a joint petition from two intermodal operator associations. FMCSA had extended until June 30, 2012, the compliance date of the requirement for drivers and motor carriers to prepare a no-defect DVIR while it considered the groups’ petition.

TRANSALIVE USA’s AmCoach is in Joplin, Mo., as a command center for truckers working recovery and debris removal following the May 22 tornado. AmCoach’s services for drivers includes food, counseling, sleeping accommodations and communication with local agencies.

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