C.R. England seeks exemption to let new drivers behind wheel quicker

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | 12/8/2014

Since July 2011, drivers who have passed their commercial driver’s license testing aren’t allowed to operate a truck without a licensed driver – until they have their state-issued CDL.

C.R. England is making a run at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to get an exemption from the regs and get those drivers behind the wheel faster.

The motor carrier wants to be able to allow students of its driving schools who have passed their tests to go ahead and haul freight, as part of a team. C.R. England proposes in their exemption request that this would allow the soon-to-be CDL holder to “participate in a revenue-producing trip back to his or her state of domicile to obtain the CDL document.”

The motor carrier also contends that restricting learners places C.R. England in an “untenable position of either sending the (permit) holder home without having hired him or her (because the person does not yet have a CDL) with no assurance that the driver will remain with C.R. England after obtaining the CDL; or, hiring the CLP holder and sending him or her home in an unproductive non-driving capacity. Granting the exemption would allow the CLP holder to drive as part of a team on that trip, resulting in reduced costs and increased productivity.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association calls the request “laughable” and considers any such request – given C.R. England’s 17-day training program – “ludicrous,” according to OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

“Making special accommodations that could have a negative impact on highway safety is not something the agency should consider at all,” Spencer said.

“Given the meager level of instruction that passes for training, it is laughable to consider any sort of request. In absence of driver training standards, the fact that C.R. England considers a 17-day school adequate training is ludicrous, and the agency should not fall for that.”

Spencer went on to challenge C.R. England’s assertion about boosting productivity.

“Where the company attracts or recruits prospective students is totally up to them, whether they be from another state or another country. It’s totally a management decision on how they want to operate their company,” he said. “Likewise, it’s management that has total control on how many new drivers they need at any particular time, and that’s totally controlled by turnover and attrition.”

FMCSA will accept comments on the request until Dec. 29. Click here to comment.

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