Tennessee pulls testing rights for another CDL office

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another third-party testing facility for commercial driver’s licenses has been fired by the State of Tennessee.

On Monday, June 22, the Tennessee Department of Safety announced it had pulled the right to administer commercial driver’s licenses from the Volunteer Training Center of Murfreesboro, TN. The school no longer has authority to administer the CDL skills tests as of Sunday, state officials said in a statement.

“This is simply a matter of public safety,” Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell said in a statement. “Operating a commercial vehicle is a great responsibility and we will do everything to make sure that Tennessee roads are safe for everyone who travels on them.”

The state said that Volunteer Training Center is being investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI. The Department of Safety declined to release details pending the investigation’s outcome.

Volunteer signed a five-year contract with the state to administer the tests in January, and was under contract through 2013. The testing facility was one of 19 third-party companies working with the Department of Safety in the state.

The Volunteer isn’t the first third-party CDL tester the state has let go.

In February 2008, the state-certified CDL testing center at a Swift Trucking facility near Memphis was raided by multiple state and federal agencies. Documents were seized, and the investigation reportedly centered on the illegal issuance of CDLs.

Although no arrests were made, in January 2009 the Tennessee Department of Safety announced that drivers who obtained CDLs through one third-party tester in Tennessee between May 2005 and January 2008 might be required to do a complete retest.

The Swift trucking school’s shutdown and subsequent retesting fallout have prompted several truck drivers to file lawsuits against both the states that have required retesting and the trucking school.

Responding to a Freedom of Information Act Request by Land Line, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed that Tennessee and the Memphis Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated Swift Transportation regarding “allegations that the company is providing inferior commercial truck driver training for financial gain,” an ICE Summary of Investigation reads. “Information developed in the investigation has also identified alleged mail fraud and the issuance of commercial driver licenses to truckers without proper/sufficient training.”

No charges have emerged.

The government also investigated whether some students of the driver training program were in the country illegally “though this has not been validated,” the investigation summary reads.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer
charlie_morasch@landlinemag.com

 

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