CDL Skills Test delays needlessly hurt everyone

Tennessee Congressman takes corrective action

If you are like most companies these days, drivers are in short supply. So, you find the right person, train them, and they are ready to go take their skills test—only to discover they may have to wait three weeks or more. You needed the driver…well, yesterday… and now you discover it may be weeks. Meanwhile the prospective driver moves on as he/she needs to earn a living.

The General Accounting Office recently discovered that 15 states have CDL skills testing delays and backlogs that force students to wait for more than 14 days to test for their CDL. Students in eight of those states wait more than 21 days to take their initial CDL test. Most alarming in the report is that 20 to 50 percent of prospective drivers fail their initial commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test and face additional delays. They’re often forced to forgo income for additional weeks or months while waiting for a re-test appointment to become available.

Industry champion Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-TN) introduced H.R. 4719 – Commercial Driver’s License Skills Testing and Retesting. When passed, the bill would amend title 49 of the U.S. Code to address delays in CDL skills testing. In short, the bipartisan bill establishes a federal standard for a maximum wait time of seven days for the skills tests for all states. If states fail to comply, they could potentially lose five percent of their federal highway funds, constituting a sanction technique that—while effective—will likely see considerable resistance from some states.

Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN), Norma Torres (D-CA), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Elise Stefanik, and Julia Brownley (D-CA) have joined to co-sponsor the bill.

The states with the longest delays? New Jersey, New York, Texas, Oklahoma and Washington.

The United Motorcoach Association has joined with a number of transportation concerns, including the Commercial Vehicle Training Association to advance the bill. This is a green light and UMA members should seek their House Representative’s support for the bill – without delay!

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