FMCSA sets new state CDL testing standards

licenseThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a final rule that will revise testing and standards for commercial driver’s licenses and commercial learner’s permits.

The FMCSA’s March 25 final rule outlines changes granted in response state and industry petitions concerning the previous final rule. That 2011 rule amended CDL knowledge and skills testing standards and established new minimum federal standards for states to issue CLPs.

Many state officials were waiting for the March 25 rule to see if their requests for changes were granted, the FMCSA stated. In response to state petitions, the new deadline for state compliance has been extended until July 8, 2015.

The new final rule also:


  • States checks for legal presence and domicile are required only once after July 8, 2011. This exception will be extended to cover all transactions, including renewal and upgrades.
  • Clarifies the FMCSA requires two people to be substantively involved in the license issuance process, but does not mandate that two people verify each document.
  • Allows state to decide if a CLP should include a photo.
  • Requires states perform background checks on test examiners only when hired instead of annually.
  • Allows CDL training schools to test their own students, as long as examiners do not administer skills test to the same drivers they personally trained.
  • Requires third-party CDL testers be bonded, but not governmental entities who do testing
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