FMCSA updates guidance on CDL knowledge tests

Trucking regulators have issued new guidance that strips away confusion over CDL testing standards and could help deploy entry-level drivers faster.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is amending its regulatory guidance to clarify that the regulations do not prohibit third-party testers from administering the commercial driver’s license knowledge tests for all classes and endorsements.

FMCSA’s regulatory guidance notice is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Thursday, Feb. 3.

“State driver licensing agencies may accept the results of knowledge tests administered by third-party testers in accordance with existing knowledge test standards and requirements,” the FMCSA wrote.

The updated guidance is in response to an exemption request made by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles in April 2020.

FMCSA responded to Virginia’s request at the time and said the regulations do not prohibit the use of third-party testers. In addition, the agency indicated it would revise the existing guidance.

Regulatory guidance that was issued as recently as 2019 said that the third-party testing provision applied only to the skills portion of the testing procedure.

However, FMCSA says it has reconsidered that guidance and concluded that “nothing in the agency’s current authorities prohibit states from permitting third-party testers to administer CDL knowledge tests.”

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