The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will soon allow states to issue commercial learner’s permits for up to one year instead of the current six-month limit with the option to renew the permit for another six months.
In a Federal Register notice to be published Friday, FMCSA says the new rule is not a requirement for states, but rather an option instead of the six-month CLP. If states issue a CLP for less than one year, the CLP may be renewed at the state’s discretion, but if it is renewed, the permit can only be valid for a total of one year from the original issue date.
After one year from the original issue date, a CLP or renewed CLP will no longer be valid. If a CLP holder does not obtain his or her CDL within the year before the permit expires, the driver would then be required to reapply for the permit.
The new rule goes into effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposed the proposed rulemaking that was published in June 2017, stating it believed carriers would be able to keep drivers with CLPs behind the wheel longer instead of using drivers with CDLs, thus negatively impacting safety.
FMCSA responded to OOIDA’s concerns, noting that some states currently issuing 180-day permits may provide a grace period of more than five days between the initial permit issuance period of 180 days and the renewal period, resulting in a CLP valid for more than one year. Under the new rule, states issuing a one-year permit would have a shorter maximum period of CLP validity than states that currently allow the grace period.