The federal government has hundreds of rules in place that dictate how trucking companies and their drivers must behave on the road. In some cases, however, the FMCSA grants exemptions that allow carriers and truck drivers to bend the rules.
In June 2017, the FMCSA announced that it will allow New Prime, a national trucking carrier company, to allow pre-CDL drivers to drive in “team operations.”
This means that New Prime can put individuals who do not yet possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL) behind the wheel of a semi in a team operation.
According to media reports, these new drivers must have passed the CDL skills test, but they don’t actually need to possess a CDL. Reports also state that the exemption requires a CDL-holder to be in the truck, but the CDL-holder doesn’t have to be in the front seat.
It might come as a surprise to learn that the Owner-Operator Independent Driver’s Association, which is a national pro-trucking group, actually opposes the FMCSA’s exemption.
Furthermore, this isn’t the first time the FMCSA has granted such an exemption. In June 2017, it also granted a similar exemption to C.R. England, another major national carrier company.