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December 11, 2020 4:30 PM, EST

FMCSA Plans Information Collection for CDL Testing Delays Survey

CVTAA Truck Training America student drives through the Kentucky State Police CDL test track and road course. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is planning to submit an Information Collection Request associated with its annual survey on commercial driver license skills testing delays.

An Information Collection Request is a set of documents that details the information a federal agency is looking to gather from a certain sector. The Office of Management and Budget must approve the request before the collection can begin.

FMCSA announced its plan to submit the Information Collection Request in a document published in the Federal Register on Dec. 14. As required by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015, FMCSA must produce a study on CDL skills test delays on an annual basis. The survey aims to hear from CDL coordinators representing each state and Washington, D.C.

FMCSA Information Request by Transport Topics on Scribd

“If this information collection does not occur, FMCSA will not be able to continue to conduct the study on CDL skills test delays,” the Federal Register document states. “This data collection aims to continue to create longitudinal data where currently there is none.”

The annual report is required to describe the average wait time from the date an applicant requests to take a skills test to the date he or she has the opportunity to complete the test, and the average wait time from the date an applicant requests a retest (in case of failing a previous exam) to the date he or she can complete the retest.

The report must also detail the number of qualified CDL examiners available to test applicants and the number of testing sites available through a state’s department of motor vehicles (and whether this number has increased or decreased from the previous year). Additionally, the report needs to describe the steps the FMCSA Administrator is taking to address testing delays in states with an average wait time of more than seven days.

Fmcsa Survey by Transport Topics on Scribd

Prior to the announcement about the Information Collection Request, FMCSA held a public comment period this summer. The agency received four comments, one of which was a duplicate, from the National School Transportation Association, the Texas Trucking Association and the Commercial Vehicle Training Association.

“NSTA felt that it was necessary and important information to collect, not only due to FAST Act requirements, but also in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, which has impacted [state driver licensing agencies] and their operating statuses, as well as many other aspects of the transportation sector,” the Federal Register document states.

In its comments, CVTA suggested FMCSA require states to respond to the survey. In the Federal Register document, FMCSA maintained it does not have authority to compel states to respond; survey responses must be submitted voluntarily. Also, FMCSA noted the prior survey received “at least partial responses” from the majority of states.

FMCSA estimates the survey’s annual burden to be no more than 2.3 hours per respondent. This figure represents a maximum of two hours to gather information from state databases and about 17.5 minutes to respond to the survey itself.

The agency welcomes public comment on this information collection, asking for input on subjects such as whether the proposed collection is necessary for FMCSA to perform its functions, the accuracy of the estimated time-related burden and ways for FMCSA to enhance the usefulness of the collected information.

The published report will be distributed to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

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