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The Trucking Industry is Split Over CDL Testing Changes

CDL Testing Changes Divide the Trucking Industry

The trucking industry is split over CDL testing changes

Hold onto your hats, folks, ’cause we’re diving headfirst into a big ol’ debate shaking up the trucking world about changes to CDL testing. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has tossed out this idea called “More Flexibility for Testing and Drivers After Passing the Skills Test,” and let me tell you, it’s stirring the pot big time.

So, what’s got everyone in a tizzy? Well, the FMCSA’s cooking up some changes like:

  • Letting CLP (Commercial Learner’s Permit) holders drive without a CDL holder in the passenger seat after passing the CDL skills test.
  • Giving CDL applicants the green light to take their skills test in a different state from where they live.
  • Saying goodbye to the 14-day wait after getting a CLP before taking the CDL skills test.

Now, where’d these ideas come from? They’re partly inspired by some quick fixes during the pandemic and a little push from the American Trucking Association (ATA) back in 2020. Folks had until April 2 to chime in on this plan.

Some folks are breaking out the bubbly over this. The American Trucking Association (ATA) and a bunch of training groups think this rule could be just what the doctor ordered. They see it as a fix for the trucking industry’s big old’ problem: not enough drivers. Brenna Lyles from ATA ain’t mincing words, saying, “If we don’t sort out this driver shortage, we could be short by 160,000 drivers by 2030. We need over a million new drivers to keep up with the demand.”

Werner Enterprises is also giving this plan two thumbs up. They reckon letting CLP holders hit the road solo while a CDL holder takes a breather will grease the wheels and open up more opportunities for team driving.

But not everyone’s doing the happy dance. Safety buffs and solo truckers are ringing the alarm bells. Todd Spencer, the big cheese at the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), ain’t impressed. He thinks letting CLP holders loose without a CDL holder watching could mean they miss out on important guidance, especially since the training standards aren’t exactly top-notch.

Spencer’s also sweating bullets about ditching the 14-day wait. He says it could mean less-prepared drivers hitting the road. And he’s got a point. Experienced drivers pass on a boatload of knowledge to the newbies, and cutting that wait time could mean less time for learning.

Peter Kurdock from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety ain’t buying what the FMCSA’s selling either. He reckons the changes don’t have enough solid evidence behind them and could lead to folks hunting for easy tests in other states.

So, what’s on the horizon? Well, as the FMCSA keeps on pushing this plan, the trucking world remains divided right down the middle. Some reckon loosening up CDL rules is the magic potion for fixing the driver shortage and making things run smoother. But others worry it could throw a wrench in road safety. So, hang onto your hats, folks! The next few months are going to be a real rollercoaster ride as regulators try to figure out what to do next. And you best believe both sides are gearing up for a showdown over the future of CDL tests and road safety.

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