FMCSA pledges to address domicile rule for student drivers

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has withdrawn a proposal for CDL learner’s permits, but promises to address the state of domicile requirement for student drivers. The agency announced it was withdrawing its notice of proposed rulemaking Feb. 23 in the Federal Register. FMCSA published the notice in 1990, but initiatives since then have rendered the proposed rule obsolete, the agency stated.

In 1994, FMCSA issued a final rule that restricted CDL issuance to the driver’s state of domicile. In 2002, the agency issued a final rule incorporating new domicile requirements into the CDL regulations, including stricter rules for disqualifying CDL holders and better driver application procedures and state record check requirements. Finally, the federal Real ID Act of 2005 tightened the verification process for determining a person’s identity and legal presence in the United States.

The agency noted in its announcement that in working with the Department of Homeland Security to implement the Real ID Act, it will examine the issue of student drivers who want to take their CDL skills tests outside their state of domicile. Driver training schools are not available in every state. The Truckload Carriers Association has asked the agency to replace the rule with one that merely requires proof of U.S. citizenship.