CRST requests exemption for commercial learner's permit holders

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line associate editor | 8/9/2018

CRST Expedited is asking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to renew an exemption that allows the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based trucking company to have student drivers run team with a commercial driver’s license holder.

The request was published in the Federal Register on Thursday, Aug. 9.

Current regulations require a CDL holder with the proper class and endorsements to be seated in the front while a commercial learner’s permit holder is driving on public roads or highways. The exemption would allow student drivers who passed the skills test but not yet received the CDL document to drive a CRST commercial motor vehicle accompanied by a CDL holder “who is not necessarily in the passenger seat.”

Cedar-Rapids, Iowa-based CRST’s current exemption runs from Sept. 23, 2016, through Sept. 24, 2018.

The trucking company’s 2015 application contended that the existing regulation is “inefficient and unproductive” as the company must incur added expense to send the driver to his or her home state to collect a CDL document.

“Under the rule, the driver is not only unable to utilize newly acquired driving skills but must also forego compensation before obtaining a CDL,” the FMCSA notice stated. “CRST believes that FMCSA should renew the exemption for an additional five-year period because it results in safer drivers.”

CRST argues that it allows the company to “foster a more productive and efficient training environment by allowing commercial learner’s permit holders to hone their recently acquired driving skills through on-the-job training and to begin earning an income right away.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association spoke out against CRST’s exemption request in 2016.

The agency has granted similar exemptions to C.R. England and New Prime.

FMCSA is accepting public comments on CRST’s exemption request until Sept. 10. 



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