FMCSA oversight of CDL disqualifications has gaps, audit reveals

July 15, 2021

Land Line Staff


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has gaps in its oversight of CDL disqualification regulations, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General says.

The self-initiated audit, which was released on Wednesday, July 14, was aimed at assessing FMCSA’s oversight of states’ actions to disqualify commercial drivers when warranted.

According to the U.S. DOT OIG, states did not timely transmit electronic conviction notifications 17% of the time. Specifically, the report estimated that States of Conviction did not timely transmit 18% of 2,182 major offenses and 17% of 23,638 serious traffic violations.

“While states did take action to disqualify CDLs when appropriate, with exceptions, FMCSA’s evaluation of payer conviction notifications is limited by states’ processes for recording and tracking convictions sent by mail,” the OIG report stated. “Furthermore, FMCSA’s annual program review process lacks adequate quality control measures for verifying that state CDL programs meet federal requirements.”

The report also noted that state noncompliance with federal CDL disqualifications post challenges for FMCSA’s oversight.

“For example, some states offered administrative appeals to out-of-state drivers, overturned disqualifications, and backdated CDL disqualification periods” the report stated. “As a result, some drivers served shorter disqualification time periods than federal law requires.”

The Office of Inspector General made seven recommendations to strengthen FMCSA’s oversight.

1. Improve current requirements for states to record, track, and maintain paper-based convictions sent and received via mail by incorporating its standardized method for states to aggregate paper-based convictions to facilitate FMCSA’s evaluation of state performance.

2. Finalize and implement standardized operating procedures for conducting annual program reviews and for supervisory quality control reviews of completed annual program reviews.

3. Modify the annual program review checklist to require reviewers to address key factors.

4. Finalize and implement a standard operating procedure for determining when a state is not making a good faith effort to timely mitigate compliance issues and when to impose sanctions on noncompliant states.

5. Complete the agency’s review of the state compliance records enterprise system and implement identified improvements for managing states’ compliance issues.

6. Develop and implement a process to segregate non-CDL holder convictions from all Commercial Driver’s License Information System reports and workbooks used to evaluate state’s compliance with CDL regulations.

7. Develop and implement a plan for coordinating with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators to mitigate risks when states transition to new software systems.

According to the report, FMCSA concurred with all seven recommendations and are considered “resolved.” LL