FMCSA to No Longer Require CDL Examiners to be Physically Present During Testing
Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may soon no longer require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) examiner to be physically present during the administering of the CDL testing process.
Currently, regulations require that a CDL examiner must observe a driver applicant’s operation of the vehicle and provide instruction during the road test.
However, the Agency says that could soon be changing.
In newly issued guidance to State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLA), the FMCSA says it is “encouraging SDLAs to test drivers while practicing social distancing.”
The Agency says States may leverage technology such as Bluetooth, in-cab cameras, and cell phones to “administer the CDL skills test in a way that allows the examiners to not be physically present in the cab.”
FMCSA requests States that wish to administer the skills test without the examiner being physically present in the test vehicle submit a plan to the Agency and explain how it intends to do so while not compromising safety.
The Agency explained that examiners can observe the skills test from a second vehicle while deploying technology to monitor the process for accurate scoring.
“States may wish to consider, for example, either having two employees in a sufficiently large follow vehicle (seated six feet apart) or else having one employee in a follow vehicle while a recording device that is set up on the vehicle records the test, viewing the applicant’s performance after the examiner has stopped driving, and then immediately deleting the recording,” the guidance states.
As for the knowledge test, the Agency says States may also leverage technology so that the examiner need not be physically present.
The FMCSA suggested such plans as deploying cameras, video proctoring, cell phones, or online testing to administer the CDL knowledge tests.
As is the case with the skills testing, the Agency is requesting States present a plan detailing how it would implement such measures without compromising safety.
The FMCSA says it will consider such plans until June 30, 2020.
To read the entire guidance, click HERE.
Just last week, the Agency also waived specific training requirements for third party CDL skills testers to allow them to administer the knowledge test without completing the required training to do so.
Click HERE to read more about this waiver.
One aspect that is not changing, the Agency says, is that a State is still required to only issue a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) or CDL to a driver who has passed the knowledge and skills tests.