FMCSA Establishes Minimum Standards for CLPs

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of May 2, 2011
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After more than 20 years of proposals, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a Final Rule establishing a minimum standard that States must adhere to when issuing Commercial Learner’s Permits (CLPs).

FMCSA announced this week that it has finally published a Final Rule to create a Federal minimum standard that States must adhere to when issuing a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP).This issue was first broached before FMCSA even existed, way back in 1990.

FMCSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2008 — a subject Fast-Fax covered in issue 534. The Final Rule is far-reaching and changes 49 CFR Parts 383, 384 and 385. States will have three years to come into compliance.

CLP Knowledge and Skills Test

Before being issued a CLP, the applicant will have to complete the Knowledge and Skills Testing Requirements. This is currently only required for the CDL. Furthermore, the use of a foreign language interpreter or instruction in a language other than English during the administration of the test will be banned. This essentially limits the issuance of a CLP to English speakers.

Legal Status

Before issuing a CLP to an applicant, the state will be required to check the legal status of the person. This will include verifying their Social Security Number with the Social Security Administration. The applicant may also prove his identity and residency by presenting the following documentation: A U.S. passport, U.S. Birth Certificate, Certification of Birth Abroad (issued by the U.S. Department of State), Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of U.S. Citizenship. Furthermore, a Lawful Permanent Resident may present a Permanent Resident Card, Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551), Temporary I-551 stamp in foreign passport or a Reentry Permit (Form I-327).

Driver Record Check

Before issuing a CLP to a driver, the state will be required to perform a check of the driver’s record by using the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) and the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS). Once a CLP has been issued, the state will have to create a CDLIS record so that other states will be able to view the driving and licensing records of the applicant.

Other Changes To the CDL/CLP Process

FMCSA has also made several other changes to the CDL/CLP process:

  • Before issuing a CLP to an applicant, the state will have to verify that the person is at least 18 years of age for intrastate commerce and at least 21 years of age for interstate commerce.
  • A CLP will have to be tamper-proof to the maximum extent feasible.
  • It will also be required to contain the same information as a CDL.
  • Once a CLP has been issued, the holder will have to wait a minimum of 14 days before applying for a CDL.
  • The state will be required to view the CLP as a separate document to the CDL or non-commercial driver’s licence.
  • FMCSA will impose sanctions on states that fail to implement adequate measures to comply with these changes. Sanctions will be particularly harsh if the violations allow fraud to take place.

Definition Changes

Regulation-watchers will have noticed that FMCSA was forced to make an unusually large number of changes to the definitions listed in the FMCSRs. It removed ‘serious traffic violation’ in its entirety. In addition, it altered the definitions for ‘commercial driver‘s license’, ‘commercial motor vehicle’, ‘disqualification’, ‘driver applicant’, ‘endorsement’, ‘imminent hazard’, ‘tank vehicle’, and ‘United States’;

Furthermore, FMCSA changed the title of the definition of ‘nonresident CDL’ to ‘Non-domiciled CLP’ or ‘Non-domiciled CDL’. All-new definitions were added for ‘CDL driver’, ‘non-CDL’, ‘commercial learner‘s permit’, ‘manual transmission’, ‘third party skills test examiner’, and ‘third party tester’.

Transportation Ticker

DOT Reports Slight Up-Tick in Positive Drug Test Results. Jim Swart, Director of the Department of Transportation’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC), introduced a short presentation at a meeting organized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) outlining the 2010 DOT drug and alcohol testing results.

Overall, there was a slight increase in the number of positive drug test results. Out of 5,463,833 DOT tests performed in 2010, 84,211 were positive — a 1.54% positive rate. That represents a 0.3% increase over the 2009 levels. While that doesn’t sound like much it does mean there were 1,639 more positives last year than in 2009. Doubly disappointing, the positive rate had been in decline over the last few years; steadily decreasing since 2006. Read More on The Transportation Ticker blog at

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 685 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011