Colorado retesting 183 CDL drivers after Randy Lopez CDL school shuttered

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The state of Colorado is retesting CDL holders who graduated from the Randy Lopez CDL Testing and Training facility after the school was found in serious violation of the basic rules of issuing CDLs. 

Randy Lopez, whose Loveland, Colorado-based school has now shut down, "failed to complete forms correctly, administer the skills test in accordance with state standards, maintain its basic control skills lot, and enter accurate information," the Colorado Department of Revenue wrote in a legal document. 

This follows a string of audits tracing back to 2019, where Lopez often just barely made the grade before auditors caught wind of more serious violations that required him to forfeit his license to operate the business.

[Related: FMCSA proposes changes to CDL testing process]

A Notice of Charges in Lopez's case details the school's shortcomings. From things like sloppy paperwork missing signatures, dates, medical certifications and vehicle classes to giving applicants a pass on air brake checks, speeding violations, and alley docking exercises, Lopez "deliberately and willfully violated the Commercial Driver’s License Act," according to the state.

As part of the settlement and agreement between Lopez and the state, Lopez "acknowledges that its negligent conduct has caused the Department to suffer a monetary loss (the cost of re-testing CDL drivers) and is therefore entitled to access the bond" of Lopez's business. 

No criminal charges followed, though the state reserves the right to pursue them later if more information comes to light. However, as part of the settlement, Lopez agrees he "will never apply for another testing unit certificate in Colorado, have any financial stake in a testing unit, be affiliated with a testing unit in any way, or otherwise conduct CDL testing."

Now, the DMV has "retested drivers in the parking lot of Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood, Colorado," according to a DMV spokesperson." This parking lot is also used by the Jefferson County school district to train and test school bus drivers, as well as other non-commercial driving schools and motorcycle training organizations when there are no events at the stadium. There are four separate certified basic skills lots within the parking lot."

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[Related: Fleet owner's elaborate scheme helped drivers cheat on CDL tests: Feds]

These tests had FMCSA staff on sight, and the DMV said it annually audits CDL schools in the state, and that the audit wasn't part of a wider crackdown. 

In total, the state retested 183 drivers. 

The Notice of Charges states that Lopez's school "scored incorrectly for the air brake test" and "gave applicants credit even though they did not perform all three parts of the air brake check." Ignoring speeding violations on the road test, a lack of "probing questions necessary to determine if the applicant has full understanding" and giving credit for uncompleted test inspection portions, or simply letting the applicant conduct the inspection without guidance, round out the list of violations.

In the most recent audit, auditors said not only were tests incorrectly scored, but the tester was pointing and making "hand gestures as to how and what exercises needed to be performed" to get a passing grade. 

Colorado's rectification of the loosely awarded CDLs follows several other high profile cases in which bribery A played part in cheating on or faking CDL tests. 

In Illinois, a Chicago-area fleet owner recently used earpieces and wires to help CDL applicants cheat on the written exam for $500 a pop. 

In Massachusetts, state troopers were indicted in January for a brazen CDLs-for-cash (or even water bottles) scheme where examiners described drivers as "horrible" or even "brain dead" despite giving them a passing grade. 

[Related: State troopers indicted in CDL-test bribery case

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