What Is Involved In The “Road Test” A Truck Driver Must Pass Before They Can Drive A Commercial Motor Vehicle?
Before a driver can be hired, he or she must successfully complete a road test. The FMCSA outlined a minimum test a driver must meet; however, the employer may require drivers to meet other criteria not listed in the FMCSA’s test. Furthermore, the driver must take the test while driving the motor vehicle he or she will be assigned to drive. The minimum test set by the FMCSA includes: a pre-trip inspection; coupling and uncoupling a combination (if the driver may drive such equipment); placing the vehicle in operation; using the vehicle’s controls and emergency equipment; driving in traffic and passing other vehicles; turning; braking, and slowing by means other than braking; and backing and parking. An employer may designate anyone to administer the test who “is competent to evaluate and determine whether the person who takes the test has demonstrated that he or she is capable of operating the CMV, and associated equipment, that the [employer] intends to assign him or her.” Nevertheless, the owner cannot administer the road test. The road test must be long enough to evaluate the driver’s skills at handling the CMV and equipment.
The next question becomes, “Is there any way to get out of taking the road test”? For example, what about an experienced driver who is switching motor carrier companies? The FMCSRs specified two ways a driver could get out of taking the road test: (1) if the driver has a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and has already taken a road test in the same type of CMV the driver is to be assigned. (this is not allowed if the driver is assigned a CMV requiring a double/triple or tank vehicle endorsement); or (2) if the driver has received a certificate of road test within the past 3 years from another employer.