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CDL Fact Sheet

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CDL Fact Sheet-Commercial Driver's License

A CDL Fact Sheet is a list of important items concerning the CDL.  The following CDL Fact sheet was taken directly from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) web site.  A link for further information about the CDL follows the CDL Fact Sheet.

  • Seven new provisions in the regulation address the following: disqualification for driving while suspended, disqualified, or causing a fatality; emergency disqualification of drivers posing an imminent hazard; expanded definition of serious traffic violations; extended driver record check; new notification requirements; masking prohibition; disqualification for violations obtained while driving a noncommercial motor vehicle (CMV).
  • The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 requires the agency to withhold Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program grant funds from the states if they do not comply with the regulation.
  • A new masking prohibition does not prevent a conviction from appearing on a driver's record and requires making conviction information available to authorized parties.
  • Applicants for an initial Commercial Driver's License (CDL), and those transferring or renewing a CDL, must provide state driver licensing agency personnel with the name of all states where previously licensed for the past ten years to drive any type of motor vehicle, allowing state officials to obtain an applicant's complete driving record. The final rule limits this record check to CDL drivers initially renewing their license after the effective date of this rulemaking.
  • States must maintain a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) driver-history record noting an individual's convictions for state or local motor-vehicle traffic-control laws while operating any type of motor vehicle. Information on these convictions and other licensing actions must be kept a minimum of three years. Disqualifying offenses range from three years to life.
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may prohibit a state from issuing, renewing, transferring, or upgrading Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDLs) if the agency determined the state is in substantial noncompliance with the CDL licensing and sanctioning requirements.
  • The new rule specifies applicants must pass both a knowledge and a skills test to obtain a new school-bus endorsement. The regulation requires the FMCSA to create a new endorsement Commercial Driver's License (CDL) holders must obtain to operate a school bus.
  • Under the new regulation, a driver may apply for a CDL from another state if the state he lives in was decertified and if the other state to which he applies elects to issue that license. States are authorized, but not required, to issue nonresident CDLs to such drivers.
  • States with a school-bus-licensing program meeting or exceeding FMCSA requirements may continue to license school-bus drivers with that program. States have the option to not require applicants for the school-bus endorsement to take the skills test when the applicant has experience driving a school bus and meets safety criteria.
  • A CDL disqualifying offenses section was revised to show driver violations for CDL holders and a CMV. The charts describe an offense and the ensuing penalty.
  • The regulations add these serious traffic violations: driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL; driving a CMV without a CDL in the driver's possession; and driving a CMV without the proper CDL and/or endorsement. Driver disqualification can result if a driver is convicted two or more times within a three-year period.
  • States must be connected to the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS) and the National Driver Register (NDR) to exchange information about CMV drivers and traffic convictions and disqualifications. A state must check CDLIS, NDR, and the current State of licensure before a CDL can be issued, renewed, upgraded, or transferred to make sure the driver is not disqualified or has a license from more than one state. Employers, including motor carriers, are authorized users of CDLIS data and, therefore, have access to an employees' or an applicants' driving record.
  • New notification requirements necessitate that states inform CDLIS and the state issuing the CDL no later than 10 days after disqualifying, revoking, suspending, or canceling a CDL, or refusing to allow someone for at least 60 days to operate a CMV. Beginning three years after the final rule's effective date, notification of traffic-violation convictions must occur within 30 days of the conviction. Six years after the final rule's effective date, notification of traffic-violation convictions must occur within ten days of the conviction.
  • States whose CDL program may fail to meet compliance requirements, but are making a "good-faith effort" to comply with the CDL requirements, are eligible to receive emergency CDL grants.
  • The FMCSA decided to merge all the CDL provisions into one final rule with one effective date because they were so closely related to one another.