The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that, if passed, will loosen regulations on Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) holders as they transition to obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). That is a lot of acronyms, but the real potential problem is what effect this will have on road safety.
In the NPRM, the FMCSA lists some of its ideas on changes to the CLP program. Such changes include:
- Allowing a CLP holder to operate a commercial vehicle on public roads without a CDL holder as a passenger.
- Removing the 14-day wait period requirement after obtaining a CLP to take the CDL skills test.
- Expanding an applicant’s ability to take a CDL test in a state other than where they live.
Of these (and more) listed on the NPRM, the one we listed first may be the most important one of them all. Is allowing drivers-in-training to drive alone a good idea? Even student drivers of standard 4-wheel vehicles with permits must have a passenger with a license.
The FMCSA has analyzed the issue and has come to the conclusion that this will not have a major impact on road safety.
“Once the CLP holder has passed the skills test and, thus, demonstrated their ability to safely operate a CMV, the current restriction limiting CLP holders to CMV operation only for [the] purpose of BTW [behind-the-wheel] training would no longer be necessary. Because these drivers have already met all the requirements for a CDL, but have yet to pick up the CDL document from their State of domicile, their safety performance would be the same as a newly-credentialed CDL holder. Additionally, having a CDL driver accompany the CLP driver who has successfully passed all required CDL skills testing and prerequisites, provides some additional supervision that is otherwise not required for newly-credentialed CDL drivers in physical possession of the CDL document,” the FMCSA said in the NPRM.
We can think of a simpler reason to remove the CDL holder passenger requirement, namely, that if the CLP holder has his 80,000-pound truck careening towards another vehicle, it will already be too late!
This plan is still in its infancy at the time of writing: as an NPRM, it is not even in the Federal Register and is little more than a set of ideas bouncing around in the collective heads of the people at the FMCSA. Once it hits the Federal Register there will be a window of sixty days for public comment.
ABOUT TOPMARK FUNDING
TopMark Funding is a top-rated semi-truck financing and trailer financing company located in Roseville, CA. We specialize in commercial trucking and heavy equipment. Our mission is to become your long-term financial partner by helping you grow your trucking business and fleet.
We’re not here for the short-term, we’re on the long-haul with you!
Learn more about Trailer Financing.
Fill out the contact form or give us a call at (866) 627-6644. One of our truck financing specialists will contact you as soon as possible to go over your truck lease needs and learn more about you and your business financing goals.