Federal regulators have granted refrigerated carrier C.R. England Inc. a two-year exemption from a new requirement that truck drivers with learning permits who have passed their commercial driver license skills test be accompanied by an experienced “on-duty” driver-trainer for the drive home to pick up their CDL.
“The exemption enables CLP holders to drive as part of a team and have the same regulatory flexibility that provides for C.R. England’s team drivers with CDLs,” said the June 10 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announcement. “C.R. England believes that the exemption will allow these drivers to operate in a way that benefits the driver, the carrier and the economy as a whole without any detriment to safety.”
The company's Nov. 29 petition said an exemption from the requirement, effective in July, would allow the new drivers and trainers to perform as a team on a “revenue-producing” trip back to the new drivers’ home states to pick up their CDLs.
T.J. England, vice president and general counsel, said the Salt Lake City-based carrier operates five driving schools and partners with others to train thousands of drivers annually.
Without the exemption, England said drivers heading back to their home states for their CDLs would be costly, nonproductive and prohibit them from immediately gaining experience and earning income.
“We’re just saying that for all intents and purposes, the driver is already a CDL holder,” T.J. England told Transport Topics in November. “He just needs to wait in line at the DMV.”
“C.R. England advises that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is aware of the trucking industry’s need for qualified and well-trained drivers to meet increasing shipping demands,” the company said in its exemption request. “C.R. England believes that [the new regulation] limits its ability to effectively and efficiently recruit, train and employ new entrants to the industry.”
The company said that the regulatory change no longer will allow states to routinely issue temporary CDLs to drivers who passed the skills test and need to get home to pick up their CDL cards.