FMCSA grants exemption for Wilson Logistics student drivers

February 22, 2021

Mark Schremmer


The FMCSA has granted Wilson Logistics an exemption from the regulation that requires a commercial learner’s permit holder to be accompanied by a CDL holder in the passenger seat.

The notice of approval is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

In November 2019, the Springfield, Mo.-based trucking company requested an exemption to allow commercial learner’s permit holders who have passed the CDL skills test but have not yet obtained the CDL document from their home state to drive a commercial motor vehicle without having a CDL holder in the passenger seat.

As part of Wilson Logistics’ request, the CDL holder will remain in the vehicle but will not have to be in the front seat.

“The carrier believes this would allow the CLP holder to participate more independently in a revenue-generating trip to obtain the CDL document from the state of domicile,” FMCSA wrote.

According to Wilson Logistics, an estimated 400-500 commercial learner’s permit holders will operate under the exemption each year.

FMCSA received 59 comments on the company’s exemption request. Six comments, including one from the Truckload Carriers Association, were in favor of the exemption, while 53 individuals opposed the request.

“Wilson Logistics is just looking to profit (from) this and seems not to care about the possible consequences of having a very inexperienced driver at the wheel while the trainer is asleep in the sleeper,” one commenter wrote.

However, FMCSA said it expects the exemption to maintain safety standards. The agency has previously granted similar exemptions to CR England and CRST.

“Because these drivers have already met all the requirements for a CDL but have yet to pick up the CDL document from their state of domicile, their safety performance is expected to be the same as any other newly credentialed CDL holder,” FMCSA wrote. LL


Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.