Hochul wants to hire third-party companies for commercial driver road tests

A driver wearing a protective mask drives a school bus during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Brooklyn borough of New York City
REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

New York will deploy more public and private testers for commercial driver license applicants to curb a shortage of bus and truck drivers, Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday.

Hochul plans to allow private companies and state agencies other than the Department of Motor Vehicles to perform the road tests, the governor said.

“By enabling third parties to give the road test for truck and bus drivers, we will create new avenues for New Yorkers to begin exciting careers, for our children to get to school, and to ensure that vital goods get where they need to be,” Hochul said in a statement on Jan. 12.

The move will create more testing locations and expand the capacity of state-operated sites, according to the governor’s office.

A review of DMV’s website shows a host of road tests were closed or delayed this month across the state and one agency office in upstate Geneva has been closed entirely since September.

The agency’s press office did not immediately clarify why those exams were called off and pushed back.

DMV plans to phase in the testing expansion starting with state agencies that have large commercial vehicle fleets, before adding to private companies, which will be subject to quality and safety checks by the Department.

Hochul’s proposal comes after she directed the DMV in September to speed up the application process for the commercial licenses to get more school bus drivers on the roads amid a national shortage during the pandemic.

The DMV plans to hold a virtual public meeting about the proposal via WebEx on Jan. 26 from 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. To submit a written comment, you can email CDLThirdPartyTesting@dmv.ny.gov from January 18 to February 4.

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