New York looks to address ‘driver shortage’ by expanding CDL testing sites

January 14, 2022

Ryan Witkowski

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Citing an attempt to address the perceived “driver shortage,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a plan on Jan. 12 to let qualified third parties offer road tests to commercial driver’s license applicants.

“As we continue to fight this pandemic, we remain committed to expanding opportunities for New Yorkers, supporting our schools, and doing all we can to address the supply-chain issues that have affected many businesses throughout our state and country,” Hochul said.

This proposal is the latest in a series of moves by the state to address the perceived driver shortage. In September, the state removed the required 14-day waiting period between permit tests and road tests, in an attempt to expedite the process of getting a CDL. OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh cautions states against taking those measures.

“Whenever we start talking about ways to expedite getting a CDL, it is always concerning,” said Pugh. “Learning to drive any commercial vehicle is not a thing that we should be looking for an express lane.”

Despite those concerns, the state intends to do all they can to address what they believe is the issue. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 26, to hear and review comments on the proposed plan.

“We at DMV know how important it is to have qualified truck and bus drivers on the road, and we are committed to doing what we can to address the need,” said New York State DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “We look forward to gathering public input at this hearing and then acting to enable qualified third parties to offer CDL road tests to give New Yorkers greater opportunity to take the test and to get good jobs driving these essential vehicles.”

Pugh said that these types of measures merely treat the symptom and not the cause.

“This is a short-sighted idea to a much bigger problem in the transportation industry as whole,” Pugh said. “We need to first look at why folks don’t want to get into the industry in the first place. I don’t think you find CDL testing barriers at the top of any of those lists.” LL

More news from New York is available here.

WW Williams