FR Doc 03-4410
[Federal Register: February 25, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 37)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2002-12334]
Inquiries Regarding Graduated Commercial Driver's Licensing;
Qualifications, Testing and Licensing Standards
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of Inquiry and request for comments.
SUMMARY: The FMCSA invites comments responding to a series of questions
concerning the need for and potential benefits and costs of
implementing a graduated commercial driver's license (GCDL) for
commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. This action is required by
section 4019 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
(TEA-21). A graduated driver's license is a system designed to ease
beginning drivers into the traffic environment under controlled
exposure to progressively more difficult driving experiences. A
graduated or provisional licensing system helps novice drivers improve
their driving skills and helps them acquire on-the-road experience
under less risky conditions by progressing, or graduating, through
driver licensing stages before unrestricted licensure. FMCSA wants to
determine if this concept can be successfully adapted to novice CMV
DATES: Send your comments on or before May 27, 2003.
ADDRESSES: You may mail or hand-deliver your comments to the Dockets
Management System (DMS), U.S. Department of Transportation, Room Plaza-
401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. Make sure you
include the docket number FMCSA-2002-12334 at the beginning of your
comments. If you wish to receive confirmation that your comments were
received, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
You may send your comments electronically to the DMS Web site at:
or you may fax them to (202) 493-2251. All comments are available for public viewing at the
Dockets Management facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through
Friday, except Federal holidays. The Dockets Management facility is
located on the Plaza Level of the Nassif Building at the above address.
You may also view comments electronically at the DMS Web site,
It is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year.
Please follow the instructions on-line.
You may download a copy of this notice by using a computer, modem
and suitable communications software from the Government Printing
Office Electronic Bulletin Board Service at (202) 512-1661. You can
also get it through the Federal Register Web page at: http://
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Robert Redmond, (202) 366-5014,
State Programs Division (MC-ESS), Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590; or e-
mail Robert.Redmond @fmcsa.dot.gov. Office hours are from 8:15 a.m. to
4:45 p.m. e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
Section 4019 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
(TEA-21), Public Law 105-178, requires that the agency review the
adequacy of the current commercial driver's license (CDL) testing
process, make improvements and assess the merits of implementing a
graduated commercial driver's license (GCDL).
What Is a Graduated Commercial Driver's License
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
describes the concept of a graduated driver's licensing as ``a system
designed to ease beginning drivers into the traffic environment under
controlled exposure to progressively more difficult driving
experiences. This system helps improve their driving skills and helps
them acquire on-the-road experience under less risky conditions by
progressing, or graduating, through driver licensing stages before
unrestricted licensure.'' FMCSA wants to determine if this concept can
be successfully adapted to novice commercial motor vehicle (CMV)
The following questions were designed to gauge how commercial
vehicle drivers, industry groups, and government agencies involved in
vehicle operation, regulation, and enforcement feel about a GCDL.
The FMCSA originally intended to distribute the questionnaire to a
limited number of persons representing the affected commercial motor
vehicle industry. However, it now has decided to expand participation
in this study process to anyone with an interest in this important
issue by publishing this notice of inquiry. In addition, the answers to
these questions will help determine the best way to implement a GCDL,
if the FMCSA finds it beneficial to motor carrier safety and industry
This notice incorporates information obtained through a series of
focus groups with truck and bus drivers, industry representatives, and
enforcement and regulatory agency representatives. The focus groups
indicated support for a GCDL as a means for improving commercial
vehicle safety. These groups were divided, however, over whether
drivers between 18 and 21 years of age should be eligible for a GCDL as
a means for attracting new entrants into the field and increasing the
pool of qualified drivers. Additional information, including the March
1, 1999 report, ``Designing a Graduated Commercial Driver's License, A
Report on Focus Group Findings,'' Final Report, by the Science
Applications International Corporation (SAIC), is available in the
public docket for viewing and copying through the Docket Management
System at: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://dms.dot.gov.
The 16 questions address issues considered important to the
commercial vehicle community. Commenters may add narrative comments
about the need for, benefits of, potential acceptance of, institutional
barriers to, and practicality of a graduated commercial driver
licensing system and the likely improvements in highway safety,
employment opportunities, and transportation efficiency.
After data from the questions are compiled and evaluated, the FMCSA
will present its results and conclusions in a final report on the
potential benefits, costs and feasibility of implementing a graduated
or provisional CDL program. The results will be used to evaluate the
potential for pilot testing the graduated commercial driver's license
Please organize and identify your comments by question number.
General comments on the GCDL concept and areas that you believe were
not addressed in the questionnaire are also welcome.
Information About You
1. Please indicate your primary occupation(s) from the following
[sbull] Truck driver
[sbull] Motor coach/bus driver
[sbull] Fleet manager/owner
[sbull] Company safety director
[sbull] Transit system administrator
[sbull] Commercial driver trainer
[sbull] Motor carrier insurance provider
[sbull] Risk assessment specialist
[sbull] Labor union representative
[sbull] Public interest group
[sbull] Enforcement officer (motor carrier safety)
[sbull] Motor vehicle administrator (State driver's licenses
2. Do you think a graduated commercial driver's license (GCDL) is
Regardless of your response to question number 2, please complete
the rest of the questions so that we will know your preferences if a
GCDL were to be pilot tested or implemented nationally.
3. Should issuance of a GCDL be linked to enrollment in a
commercial driving training program?
4. Should the curricula of a commercial driver training program
meet widely-endorsed standards for a student to be eligible to receive
a GCDL while in training?
5. Approximately how many months/years of entry level training and
experience should new drivers receive before ``graduating'' to an
6. Should an applicant's past driving record be considered in
issuing a GCDL?
7. How many of each of the following types of motor vehicle
accidents and convictions within the past 12 months should cause an
applicant to be denied a GCDL?
[sbull] Passenger car or light truck motor vehicle accidents
[sbull] Traffic violations and citations
[sbull] DUI/DWI convictions
[sbull] Controlled substances convictions
[sbull] Reckless driving convictions
[sbull] Other convictions for motor vehicle traffic control violations
8. Should penalties for drivers holding a GCDL, who have at-fault
accidents or moving violations, be more severe than those for drivers
with an unrestricted CDL?
9. How many months/years of passenger car or light truck driving
experience should an applicant have before being issued a GCDL?
10. Which of the following restrictions should apply to entry level
drivers operating under a GCDL?
[sbull] Reduced hours of service
[sbull] Limitations on equipment type (e.g., doubles/triples, tank
vehicles, motor coaches, etc.)
[sbull] Limitations on types of cargo (e.g., hazardous materials,
livestock, liquids, etc.)
[sbull] Limitations on weather and visibility conditions (e.g., ice,
snow, fog, night driving)
[sbull] Limitations on geography or terrain features (e.g., mountains)
[sbull] Limitations on distance or types of highways (e.g., miles per
day, interstate highways, etc.)
11. Should a fully licensed CDL driver be required to accompany and
observe a driver with a GCDL? If yes, for how many weeks/months/years?
12. What is the minimum age at which an applicant should be
eligible to receive a Graduated CDL?
13. Assuming that training requirements are met, what is the
minimum age at which the holder of a graduated CDL should be eligible
to graduate to an unrestricted CDL?
14. How much testing (knowledge and road test) should be given to
GCDL holders prior to issuing an unrestricted CDL?
[sbull] Single test to ``graduate'' to an unrestricted CDL
[sbull] Periodically while holding a GCDL until training is complete
[sbull] Initial test plus re-test at 1 year after receiving initial
15. What other factors do you feel must be addressed in the
implementation of a graduated CDL program?
16. What costs would you or your organization anticipate incurring
if a GCDL program is implemented?
Issued on: February 19, 2003.
Annette M. Sandberg,
[FR Doc. 03-4410 Filed 2-24-03; 8:45 am]