The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a Federal Register notice amending the commercial driver’s license (CDL) knowledge and skills testing standards and establishing new minimum Federal standards for States to issue the commercial learner’s permit (CLP).

According to Mercer/ORC, a Washington, D.C.-based EHS consultancy, the rule requires that a CLP holder meet virtually the same requirements as those for a CDL holder, meaning that a driver holding a CLP will be subject to the same driver disqualification penalties that apply to a CDL holder. This final rule also implements section 4019 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA–21), section 4122 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA–LU), and section 703 of the Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006 (SAFE Port Act).

FMCSA believes the rule will enhance safety by ensuring that only qualified drivers are allowed to operate commercial motor vehicles on the nation’s highways.

This final rule is effective on July 8, 2011. States must be in compliance with the requirements in subpart B of Part 384 (49 CFR part 384) by July 8, 2014.