English language proficiency for CDL drivers remains in effect
Jul 25, 2003 12:00 PM
Commercial truck drivers must continue to "read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, understand highway traffic signs and signals, respond to official inquiries, and make entries on reports and records," according to information published in The Federal Register July 24.
The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration has withdrawn a proposal that sought comments on a protest from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU argued the English language requirement in 49 CFR Part 391 could conflict with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, and national origin. In withdrawing the proposal, FHWA noted, among other things, that it had never made speaking the English language a specific prerequisite for obtaining a commercial driver license (CDL)--and actually authorized administration of the CDL test in foreign languages. FMCSA said it also had no indication of discrimination when drivers were stopped in road checks.