Utah's CDL law violates federal law; FMCSA looks other way

| 5/3/2006

A new law in Utah that allows non-residents to obtain CDLs is a violation of federal law. Not that it matters, because officials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have said they have no plans to enforce the law.

The Utah law, sponsored by state House Majority Leader Jeff Alexander, R-Provo, states that “an applicant for a temporary CDL is not required to be a Utah resident or provide a Utah residential address.”

The law also allows the state to issue permanent CDLs to out-of-state students. However, that is in direct violation of a federal law that requires drivers to be residents of the state in which they receive their training and their CDL.

In a letter obtained by The Deseret Morning News newspaper earlier this year, the FMCSA stated that it was not going to enforce the federal law because it was working on a new version of the law. The Morning News reported on Wednesday, May 3, that federal officials continue to maintain that position.

Thus far, no new law has been issued. Representatives from the FMCSA did not return Land Line’s calls for this story.

The furor about the law in Utah began when it was discovered that nearly 1,900 out-of-state drivers were claiming the headquarters of C.R. England’s training school in West Valley City, UT, as their residence in the state.

The Utah Attorney General ruled in 2005 that the practice was illegal. But C.R. England officials complained to state and federal officials, saying that enforcing the law would shut down their driving school.

The Morning News reported that was enough to delay state enforcement of the law until the legislature could make changes, which it has now done.