Drivers Face Delays in CDL Skills Test; Training Schools Ask Congress to Help
By Daniel P. Bearth, Staff Writer
This article appears in the March 24 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
Delays and inconsistencies with the way states test applicants for commercial driver licenses are undermining efforts to place truck driver training school graduates in jobs, according to officials who have asked Congress to act.
Don Lefeve, president of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association in Springfield, Va., said it takes up to 45 days for CDL applicants in some states to arrange a skills test due to inadequate staffing and a limited number of testing facilities.
As a consequence of delays in issuing licenses, Lefeve said, many qualified applicants give up or find other jobs, hurting the ability of motor carriers to fill jobs and tying up equipment at state testing sites that could be used for ongoing instruction.
To speed up the process, Lefeve said, states need to expand the number of third-party testing sites.
“Our data show that 29 states offer third-party testing,” Lefeve said. “Of these states, 12 offer it through a very restricted program; meaning through a community college only. An additional 12 states only conduct testing through state-funded officials or sites.”
The average testing time delay in states that use only state-funded sites is 14 to 45 days, according to research conducted by CVTA. In states that use third-party testing on a limited basis, the time from scheduling to actual testing ranges from six to 30 days.
In some states, trucking schools are allowed to conduct skills tests and, in those cases, there is no delay in testing since the exams “are performed as needed,” Lefeve said.
CVTA officials say they want Congress to require at least a study of the benefits of third-party testing as part of the new highway funding bill.
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