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New Conditions for Commercial Truck Driver Licensing in Pennsylvania

New Conditions for Commercial Truck Driver Licensing in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, new prerequisites were put forward for commercial truck drivers to obtain licenses on 21 December. 25% of the testing centers were also shut down by the state, where this upgraded test could not take place. This is now becoming a time consuming process as there are a large numbers of applicants. This new federal regulation was initially put forward by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in July, 2011.

With more authentic residency and identity proof, the far-reaching road test was the main clause of these new requirements. The time-limit of four years (till 2015) was given to the state to regulate these changes. Since the changes in the state motor vehicle code were not passed until October, the amendments could not be effective until December. Thus, only extensive road tests were provided in June by Pennsylvania.

The Director of Safety for the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, Kevin Stewart, focused on the importance of extensive road tests for applicants and said that it consumes greater time than it did before… It takes two hours, instead of one, and requires a bigger space.

“It’s a concern because schools and companies get their new drivers ready and they pass the written test, then the delays can be weeks before the road test can be scheduled,” Stewart said. Out of 40 licensed road test sites, the closing of 12 of them took place in this state, as they lack space for the modified version of the test.

In the southeastern part of the state, in order to avoid a 6-week postponement in road test scheduling, a company sent their new truck drivers to Johnstown, which is quite a few hours away, as was mentioned by Stewart. Press officer for Driver and Vehicle Services of PennDOT, Craig A. Yetter, acknowledged in an email, the problems regarding the long wait. This is the reason the state is recommending candidates to opt for a third-party provider for the test, such as; training schools, which take lesser time and provide certifications as well.

Yetter said, “Wait times vary from site to site, and there are a number of locations that do have a six-week wait for tests. Commercial learning permit holders always have the option of visiting a third-party tester to take their skills test. The wait times at the various third-party testing locations are much lower.”

Some aspect of the on-road skills test is similar to the previous one; however it has an addition of two sections. One of them focuses on the inspection of visual vehicles, and the other points on vehicle control and parallel parking. Furthermore, one of the prerequisites that is creating trouble for truck drivers near state borders is the domicile rule, suspected the Director of Safety Policy for American Trucking Associations, Sean Garney. This is because the condition states that the candidate has to take a written test in their home state, despite of where they are training, which interferes with their return to the training centre.

A personal visit to any of the 70 license centers of the state is now obligatory for new truck drivers or for anyone who is renewing or modifying their license, in order to validate their identity and residency. The strictness regarding this issue is to avoid risks of terrorist attacks using trucks. There are 400,000 people in Pennsylvania with commercial driver licenses, which require renewal every 4 years. Although, this revolution has taken place at the wrong time, where there is already a lack of skilled drivers; however, this will result in positive outcomes, explained Stewart. He said, “We support the changes in the testing procedure. It’s certainly made it more difficult to become a commercial truck driver, and that’s a good thing.” – See more at:

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