Minnesota seeks exemption for CDL skills testing

November 30, 2020

Land Line Staff


Minnesota is asking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to reconsider its application for an exemption from regulations dealing with CDL skills testing procedures.

Federal CDL testing regulations require that the CDL skills test be conducted in three parts in a particular order of pre-trip inspections, vehicle controls skills and on-road driving.

Back in 2016, Minnesota applied for an exemption that would have allowed them to combine the vehicle control skills and on-road driving portions of the test. The agency denied that request the following year.

In a notice that appeared on the Federal Register Monday, Nov. 30, Minnesota is asking the agency to reconsider the request. In addition to combining the vehicle control skills and on-road driving portions of the test, the state also is seeking exemption from using the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators 2005 Test Model Score Sheet and from the requirement that applicants must pass the pre-trip inspection part of the test before moving on to the other two parts.

The state pointed out that passing the CDL skills testing segments in a particular order is not necessary to promote safe operation of the commercial vehicle. According to the exemption request, drivers do not get up to highway speed before they pass the vehicle control skills portion of the test in areas with low speed limits.

“The basic controls segment consists of backing maneuvers with potential pull-ups and is performed at very low speed. Consequently, drivers do not proceed to highway speeds prior to completing the basic control skills,” the exemption request states.

The state contends that its score sheet evaluates the same driving skills and contains the same inspection elements as the AAMVA scoresheet.

In its application for reconsideration, Minnesota said that its proposed testing method will maintain the same testing standards as the existing regulations and that the FMCSA’s denial did not accurately describe how scoring would be applied under the new system.

Comments on the request are now open for 30 days at Regulations.gov.

Land Line Now News Anchor Terry Scruton contributed to this report.