FMCSA extends COVID-19 waiver for driver training

A three-month waiver lifting certain restrictions for drivers with learner’s permits has been reissued and extended until Sept. 30 to ensure an adequate supply of drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As with the original waiver, which was due to expire on June 30, the extension lifts the requirement that a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holder be accompanied by a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder in the front seat of the vehicle while the CLP holder operates a commercial motor vehicle on public roads or highways “provided that the CDL holder is elsewhere in the cab,” according to FMCSA.

The original waiver, issued on March 28, was in response to social distancing guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which led to state driver license agencies (SDLAs) being unable to process and issue a CDL to CLP holders who had passed the driving skills test.

“The pace of return to normal operations will vary across the country, and as a result, some SDLAs may be unable to timely process and issue a CDL credential to eligible CLP holders who have passed the driving skills test,” FMCSA stated. “There is a continued public need for immediate transportation of essential supplies, equipment, and persons, which requires an adequate and sustained supply of drivers eligible to operate a commercial motor vehicle.”

As with the original waiver, the extension also temporarily lifts restrictions that limit a state to administering a driving skills test to an out-of-state CDL applicant who has taken driver training in that state.

“Under the terms, conditions, and restrictions of this waiver, a state may elect to administer a driving skills test to any out of state CDL applicant, regardless of where the applicant received driver training,” the waiver states.

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