Dear CVTA Members,
I am writing to update you on a number of very positive developments on Capitol Hill on October 22, 2015 for CVTA members.
Over the past year, CVTA has been advocating for a number of legislative changes that would enhance our members’ ability to provide quality training programs to new drivers. Specifically, CVTA has been urging Congress to: (1) reduce skills testing delays, (2) promulgate performance based Entry-Level Driver Training standards, (2) ensure that any additional federally approved drug testing options are really options, and (3) allow qualified and trained 18-year-old drivers to obtain a CDL allowing them to operate interstate.
We are pleased to report that Congress took major steps towards addressing all of these issues on October 22, 2015, as the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee conducted a mark-up of H.R. 3763, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (“STRR Act”). This Bill, which is the House of Representatives version of the Highway Bill, authorizes federal transportation programs, policy, and funding for the next six years. Though the STRR Act still has a long way to go until it becomes law, we are pleased to report that the Act proposes comprehensive solutions to each of the major concerns that CVTA has been raising on Capitol Hill over the past year.
Specifically, the STRR Act would:
- Require the FMCSA to issue a report on CDL skills testing delays, by location and month, on these delay times for tests and retests, including requiring the Administrator to describe specific steps he is taking to address test and retest delays of longer than 7 days. Furthermore, the bill authorizes the Department of Transportation (DOT) to allocate additional funds to improve a state’s implementation of its CDL programs, including expenses incurred for testing, personnel, and CL program coordinators;
- Put additional pressure on DOT to publish long-awaited minimum Entry-Level Driver Training Standards;
- Ensure that any additional federally-approved drug testing options will truly be options for our schools and carriers and will not obligate our schools and carriers to employ these more costly options for fear of lawsuit; and
- Create a pilot program allowing qualified and adequately trained 19½ -year-old drivers to obtain a CDL so that they could operate commercial vehicles interstate, rather than just intrastate.
CVTA applauds the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for its commitment to ensuring that new drivers are able to access quality driver training and testing. We are particularly thankful to Representatives John Duncan (R-TN) and Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), who cosponsored the language addressing skills testing delays, for their ongoing leadership and commitment to this issue.
President & CEO, CVTA
For a more detailed summary of the above sections of the STRR Act, please click HERE.