Proposal afoot to gradually 'graduate' new CDL drivers

| 2/28/2003

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants to know what you think of the graduated CDL – a concept that’s intended to help new CDL drivers by giving them progressively more difficult driving experiences.

The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century requires FMCSA to review the current CDL testing process and assess the merits of a graduated licensing program.

Toward that end, FMCSA has published a list of questions based on information obtained through focus groups with truckdrivers and others. FMCSA said the focus groups indicated support for the concept, but they weren’t sure whether drivers between ages 18 and 21 should be eligible.

The questions are intended to help determine whether a graduated CDL is needed. Among them:

  • Should a graduated CDL be linked to enrollment in a commercial driver-training program?
  • How much entry-level training and experience should new drivers receive before graduating to an unrestricted CDL?
  • Should an applicant’s past driving record be considered in issuing a GCDL?
  • If a GCDL holder is at fault in an accident or is convicted of a moving violation, should the penalty be more severe than for drivers with unrestricted CDLs?
  • What kind of restrictions should apply to entry-level drivers? Should a fully licensed CDL driver be required to accompany and observe a driver with a GCDL? What should be the minimum age for obtaining a GCDL?

A complete list of questions were published in the Feb. 25 Federal Register, which can be accessed at Answers and comments can be submitted electronically at Reference docket number FMCSA-2002-12334. Comments are due May 27, 2003.