A brief summary of the STRR Act’s most relevant sections is below.
1) Skills Testing Delays
Skill Testing Delays Report
The House version included a provision which would require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to issue a report on skills testing delays in the states. Specifically, the provision requires the report to include each state’s:
- Average testing times, by location and month, from when an individual requests a skills test and when they actually sit for the exam;
- Average retest times, by location and month, from when an individual requests a skills retest and when they actually sit for the exam;
- The number of examiners employed, by location and month, in each state;
- The number of testing locations and whether this number has increased or decreased from the past year.
Most importantly, the report also requires the FMCSA’s Administrator to describe specific steps he is taking to address test and retest delays of longer than 7 days.
Commercial Driver’s License Program Implementation
This provision establishes authorizes the Department of Transportation to administer a financial assistance program for commercial driver’s license program implementation. The Secretary may make a grant to a state agency:
- To assist the state in complying with the section 31311 (49 U.S.C. § 31311 “Requirements for State participation”)
- To improve the state’s implementation of its CDL program, including expenses:
- For computer hardware and software;
- For publications, testing, personnel, training, and quality control;
- For CDL program coordinators;
- Notification system to employers of suspension or revocation of CDLs.
(2) Entry-Level Driver Training Standards (ELDT)
Entry-Level Driver Training
The bill contains a provision which requires the Secretary of Transportation to explain why the ELDT rulemaking deadline has not been met (as established by law) if it is not promulgated within 30 days of enactment of the bill. If the DOT does not meet or cannot meet the deadline within 30 days of determining the deadline cannot be met, the Secretary must report back to Congress and explain why it cannot meet the deadline.
(3) Federally Approved Drug Testing Options
Drug Free Commercial Drivers
Another provision that was included in the bill would allow motor carriers the option of using hair testing as an alternative to urinalysis testing for pre-employment drug testing. CVTA concern was if this provision had become mandatory, it would add additional costs to students and schools. CVTA worked with Members of Congress to ensure that such testing should not be mandatory and the provision ensures that motor carriers (which includes schools) should be considered an alternative choice, not a mandatory requirement. The provision adds hair testing as an alternative method while also recognizing the right to choice of preferred method.
(4) 19 ½ -Year-Old Drivers
Graduated Commercial Driver’s License Pilot Program
The bill contains a provision which establishes a Graduated Commercial Driver’s License Pilot Program for individuals ages 19 ½ - 21 years old. The task force will evaluate:
- Specified length of time for a learner’s permit stage;
- A requirement that those under 21 must be accompanied by someone older than 21;
- A restriction on travel distances;
- A restriction on allowable driving hours;
- Mandatory driver training that exceeds the requirements for drivers over the age of 21 issued by the Secretary (ELDT);
- Use of certain safety technologies in vehicles of drivers under the age of 21;
- Any other element the task force considers appropriate.
Opportunities for Veterans
This provision amends current law and would:
- exempt members of the Armed Forces from all or a portion of the driving test if the individual has experience in the military driving vehicles similar to a commercial motor vehicle;
- ensure that such individuals may apply for an exemption of the driving test or portion of the test at least 1 year from separation from the military; and
- credit the training and knowledge the individual received in the military if the individual has experience driving vehicles similar to a commercial motor vehicle.