FMCSA Grants Large Fleet a Pre-CDL Training Waiver Also Given to Other Mega Carriers
Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has granted a pre-CDL training waiver to Wilson Logistics after more than a year of reviewing the exemption request.
The Springfield, MO-based carrier petitioned the FMCSA in November of 2019 to allow commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders who have successfully passed the CDL skills test to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) without a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder in the front passenger seat.
Wilson argued existing regulations requiring a CLP holder always be accompanied by the holder of a valid CDL who has the proper CDL group and endorsement(s) necessary to operate the CMV “creates undue burdens on the company and its CLP holders.”
Further, the more than 700-truck fleet explained that granting the exemption would allow the CLP holder to participate in a “revenue-generating trip back to his or her State of domicile to obtain the CDL document.”
A total of 59 comments were filed to the docket with only six in support.
One of those six in support was from the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) which noted that the Agency had already granted a similar exemption to C.R. England.
TCA added that the regulation creates an undue burden by restricting qualified drivers from piloting a CMV simply because they do not yet have a physical copy of their CDL, despite having passed all necessary written exams and skills tests.
Moreover, TCA reiterated that the drivers covered by this exemption would have in their possession proof of having passed the skills test while on the road; if they had taken the skills test in their State of domicile, they would already have obtained their CDL license document.
Commenters opposing the request argued granting the exemption would compromise safety in the name of profit.
Today, FMCSA finally issued its decision and provided this explanation.
“The Agency is not aware of data or information that would suggest that Wilson Logistics’ has lapses in its safety management controls, especially those involving its supervision of CMV drivers,” the FMCSA said. “Because the exemption is restricted to Wilson Logistics’ CLP holders who have documentation that they have passed the CDL skills test and could operate the CMV at any time upon receipt of the CDL document from the State of domicile, the Agency believes the exemption will achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption.”
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Additionally, FMCSA determined Wilson “will provide the required training and recordkeeping to ensure that the equivalent-level-of-safety standard is upheld.”
The exemption is effective for up to five years so long as Wilson maintains USDOT registration, minimum levels of public liability insurance, and is not being subject to any ‘‘imminent hazard’’ or other out-of-service (OOS) order issued by FMCSA.
Wilson estimates that as many as 500 CLP holders will operate under the terms of the exemption each year.
The FMCSA has previously granted similar requests to other large carriers such as Prime inc., C.R. England and CRST.
Click HERE to read the FMCSA’s entire notice on the matter.
Photo courtesy Wilson Logistics/Facebook