Officials in Arizona will take a number of steps to make life easier for truck drivers amid the nationwide supply chain crisis.
On December 9, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) announced several measures designed to alleviate stress on the transportation system and help address the nationwide supply chain crisis.
Ducey has directed ADOT to temporarily reopen two previously closed rest areas at Parks (I-40) and Christiansen (I-17) in order to provide truckers with additional opportunities to park and rest when traveling through Arizona. “These rest areas will be open through January 18, 2022 to provide relief for critical deliveries during the holiday season,” Ducey said.
The Christensen Rest Area closed in 2002 and the Parks Rest Area closed in 2009. Both rest areas were temporarily reopened by ADOT starting in April 2020 in order to offer more resources to truckers during the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis.
Ducey also issued an Executive Order to help align state CDL and CLP requirements with current federal waivers providing regulatory relief for the trucking industry.
The Executive Order takes the following actions:
- To facilitate more commercial drivers being able to obtain credentials, through Executive Order, the Governor will extend the validity of the commercial learners’ permit (CLP) from six months to one year, in alignment with federal law. This gives a student more time to fulfill training requirements without having to reapply for a new permit. The purpose of the CLP is to allow a student to operate a commercial motor vehicle for training purposes with a licensed driver present.
- The Executive Order, in alignment with the current federal waiver, will temporarily allow a commercial driver to keep their CDL past the date that the person’s medical certification is required, until Feb. 28, 2022. CDLs are regulated by the federal government. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) previously initiated a series of waivers, including one that allows a driver to keep their CDL active temporarily after the expiration of a medical certificate. Arizona will adopt this practice temporarily, until Feb. 28, 2022, to keep current CDL holders on the road and alleviate supply chain challenges. CDL holders can upload documents online, as well as verify the status of their Arizona medical certificate, at azmvdnow.gov.
- Using recent guidance provided by FMCSA, ADOT will move forward with rulemaking to open commercial driver license services to Authorized Third Party providers. During the 2021 legislative session, HB 2134 was signed into law, allowing ADOT to expand commercial driver license services to its Authorized Third Party providers. As CDLs are regulated primarily by the federal government, ADOT requested and received guidance from FMCSA to determine which actions would be permitted under federal law. Once fully implemented, individuals will have expanded options to receive CDL services from Authorized Third Party providers, providing an increase in convenience and accessibility to obtain a license.
In addition to these actions, Ducey announced that Arizona would launch the “Arizona Transportation Consultancy Project,” to “strengthen and further enable ADOT to collaborate with other states and adopt similar improvements that Arizona has implemented … By sharing best practices and ideas found in the Arizona Management System, providing technical assistance on implementation of programs and sharing state-created intellectual property, processes can be improved across the country.”