FMCSA says CDL examiners may not have to be physically present in cab during skills test

Yesterday the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published an announcement giving states permission to explore ways for CDL testers to use technology so that they can practice social distancing while administering the skills test.

In an April 13 memo, FMCSA said that in light of the current COVID-19 public health emergency and the need to comply with social distancing guidelines, they would consider changes to current requirements that a CDL skills test examiner be physically inside the test vehicle to provide instructions and observe the driver.

FMCSA said that states that would like to use technology like Bluetooth, in-cab cameras, and cell phones in place of a physical CDL examiner should submit a plan explaining how they would do so without compromising safety.

States could consider “having two employees in a sufficiently large follow vehicle (seated six feet apart) or else having one employee in a follow vehicle while a recording device that is set up on the vehicle records the test, viewing the applicant’s performance after the examiner has stopped driving, and then immediately deleting the recording,” FMCSA suggested.

FMCSA will consider these social distancing skills test plans until June 30, 2020.

FMCSA also pointed out that no Emergency Declaration issued for COVID-19 would allow state drivers license agencies to issue a CDL or CLP to any person who has not passed both the skills and knowledge test.