OKLAHOMA CITY (OBV) – A bill that aims to increase the number of professional truck drivers by allowing third parties to administer written commercial driver license (CDL) tests unanimously passed an Oklahoma Senate committee on Tuesday.
House Bill 2750, written by Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, passed the Senate Aeronautics and Transportation Committee with a 9-0 vote.
The bill addresses Oklahoma’s commercial driver shortage by allowing Service Oklahoma to enter into agreements with third parties to provide the written portion of the commercial driver license test.
“We worked hand in hand with them to just really kind of streamline the process and make it more efficient to address the backlog of CDL licenses,” Miller said.
HB 2750 requires that CDL exams are available within 50 miles of an applicant’s residence and allows Service Oklahoma to administer the test at public or private sites.
The bill states that school districts, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, colleges and universities and private entities can hire designated examiners to administer the written portion of the Class A, B or C driving skills exam required for a commercial driver license.
Critics of the state’s current CDL testing system say it is inefficient with too few regional testing locations to accommodate the number of applicants waiting to take the written test. Many testing locations are fully scheduled for 60 days or more and other locations are walk-in only. Many applicants wait long periods to obtain their permit and continue through the licensing process.
Oklahoma is deficient 6,000 truck drivers, Miller said. The truck driver shortage is a national problem, with the U.S. lacking 80,000 truck drivers, she said.
“Oklahoma wants to be a part of fixing that and making sure that our supply chains and our efficiency in that goods and services are getting to people,” Miller said.