Task force recommends
CDL program improvements
Jan 13, 2009 9:12 AM
The federal commercial driver license (CDL) program is a highly effective highway safety program with a fundamentally sound foundation, a CDL task force that includes John Conley, president of the National Tank Truck Carriers, has concluded.
The task force, the CDL Advisory Committee, was formed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) as federally mandated by Congress as part of the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act.
DOT released the current report January 8.
"The CDL program needs incremental improvements rather than major modifications or restructuring," the report states. "While the recommendations made in this report would improve the program, these recommendations are evolutionary in nature. They result from years of experience operating the program or of operating within the program."
"The Task Force recognizes that improvements recommended in the report that are not already being funded by existing grants, would require new financial and other resource commitments from CDL stakeholders," the report stated. "For the CDL program to be successful, continued federal funding is needed to assist stakeholders in meeting these emerging obligations."
The task force recommended:
- Increasing and expanding the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
- Administration (FMCSA) CDL training program.
- Extending and expanding the use of electronic tools.
- Expanding the CDL Program Improvement grant program.
- Separating the background check from the hazardous materials endorsement.
- Implementing a nationwide drug and alcohol positive test reporting program.
- Integrating medical certification tracking with the CDL.
- Creating an interim list of medical examiners pending establishment of the National Medical Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME).
- Focusing the judicial outreach program.
- Coordinating the CDL program with the REAL ID program.
- Preparing Department of Defense drivers for CDL.
- Implementing a nationwide proactive employer notification system.
- Developing and implementing minimum training and qualification standards.
- Reviewing and revising the federal motor carrier safety regulations to simplify them and clarify the imposition of penalties on states.
- Requiring that convictions of CDL drivers be reported to the licensing state (state-of-record) using the CDL information system.
- Reviewing CDL program staffing levels.
The committee also recommended that FMCSA focus on assisting carriers and others involved in the CDL regulations with executing the existing CDL program fundamentals; making incremental improvements to those fundamentals as recommended by the task force; providing stakeholders with additional automated tools and making use of technological advances.
The report can be seen online at fmcsa.dot.gov.
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