Governor Hochul proposes qualified third-party CDL road tests to address bus and truck driver shortage

Governor Kathy Hochul hopes a proposal to allow qualified third parties to offer road tests for commercial drivers licenses will help address an ongoing critical shortage of truck and bus drivers.

The governor says the plan would create more testing locations across the state, expand capacity at existing state-run sites and reduce the time it takes to get CDL-qualified drivers out on the road. Hochul announced the plan Wednesday.

The plan still faces a number of hurdles before it can be implemented. This includes a public hearing on Wednesday, January 26 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. where officials will hear comments on the plan.


Officials said it will be open for public comments following a brief introduction by DMV representatives. Written comments may be submitted to from January 18 to February 4.

If approved, the initiative would be rolled out in phases that would initially allow other state agencies and authorities that have large fleets of commercial vehicles to begin conducting CDL road tests, Hochul noted. After that, it would be extended to qualified private entities.

Hochul said DMV will use a “rigorous monitoring system” to ensure the tests are administered by qualified CDL trainers in accordance will all state and federal regulations.

“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 in a prepared statement. “By enabling third parties to give the road test for truck and bus drivers, we will create new avenues for New Yorkers to begin exciting careers, for our children to get to school and to ensure that vital goods get where they need to be.”

The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) lauded the plan.

“Governor Hochul’s quick and decisive action will increase the number of school bus driver testing sites across the state and help to alleviate New York’s school bus driver shortage problem,” said New York Association for Pupil Transportation executive director David Christopher said in a prepared statement.  “Governor Hochul and Senator Mike Martucci, a former school transportation provider who worked closely with the Governor’s office on this issue, continue to be tremendous advocates for New York’s school districts and school transportation providers, and we thank them both for their tireless commitment to ensuring that the 2.3 million children who ride a yellow school bus to and from school each day get there safely.”

This latest initiative follows previous efforts by DMV to address an acute shortage of school bus drivers last fall by removing a 14-day waiting period between the permit test and the road tests for a CDL.
The state also increased capacity to administer road tests and, through cooperation with county-operated DMV offices, to increase testing capacity for written exams.

State officials also opened new CDL Driver Testing sites by partnering with SUNY, the Thruway Authority, New York Racing Association, and the Office of General Services to use large lots on their various sites for the road test.
And for school staff who held an existing CDL, State officials set up expedited testing to obtain a permit that allows them to drive vans and buses temporarily. 

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