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FMCSA Denies Minnesota's Request for Reconsideration Regarding CDL Test Exemptions

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently denied the state of Minnesota’s request for reconsideration regarding CDL testing regulations.

In 2017, FMCSA denied Minnesota's original request to be exempted from some of the requirements of how the CDL skills test is conducted.


Minnesota requested allowance to use its own scoresheet to score applicant drivers during the skills tests. The state also requested to be allowed to combine vehicle control skills and on-road skills segments and thus have only two parts to its skills tests.


According to the notice, Minnesota believes that FMCSA’s denial letter does not accurately describe how its scoring is applied.


Minnesota also asked for exemption from the requirement that applicants pass the pre-trip inspection portion of the exam before proceeding to the balance of the test. The state argued that the order in which the elements of the CDL skills tests are conducted does not result in unsafe conditions or the operation of a commercial motor vehicle at highway speeds.


In 2017, FMCSA denied the state's original request for multiple reasons:


FMCSA noted a universal score sheet for every state is needed to ensure that all drivers meet a baseline standard for safety.


FMCSA also opposed combining the various elements of the skills tests, because “an individual could pass Minnesota’s combined test even though he or she has exceeded the maximum point deduction allowed when the two portions of the skills tests are given separately.”


Last, it opposed allowing applicants to operate commercial motor vehicles at highway speeds “when they have not demonstrated the proper handling of the vehicle at lower speeds during the basic controls test.”


FMCSA said Minnesota’s request for reconsideration provided no additional information that would make the agency change its decision.


“FMCSA believes that conducting the elements of the CDL skills test in order (pre-trip, vehicle control skills test, on-road skills test) is the best practice for the safety and efficiency of the tester,” the agency wrote in the notice.



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