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Salt Lake City, Utah

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Bret Hanna
Bret Hanna
Attorney • 435-649-2525

Utah CDL Testers Must Be Reigned In

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The Office of the Utah Legislative Auditor General submitted a report to the Utah Legislature on May 18th entitled A Performance Audit of the Driver License Division. The report was specifically aimed at reviewing the oversight the Driver License Division has over third-party testers who administer the commercial driver license ("CDL") exam in Utah. The results of the audit as reflected in the report are not pretty.

The first report heading sets the stage: Improper CDL Examinations are Occurring. Auditors observed nine tests administered by third-party testers and found four to be "insufficient." Several of those had the appearance of fraud including one example where a test was scheduled but not taken. The applicant still made off with a CDL license based on test results signed by the third-party tester with the date and time of the exam referenced for the exam that did not take place.

The next report headline is no better: Policies for Third-Party Tester Oversight Are Needed. Here, auditors noted the following:

The DLD lacks policies for managing the third-party tester program.

Methodology is needed to select third-party testers for observation. For

example, there is no methodology in policy to require a certain number of

covert observations, nor is there a standard for how often a third-party tester

should be monitored. Also, document review and record keeping policies are

needed. Finally, the DLD needs policies to provide clear guidance on

disciplinary action for third-party testers in order to deter fraudulent testing

that appears to be occurring.

The report also includes some additional recommendations for improving the CDL licensing process but a few just seem ridiculously obvious. Those include retesting those who received licenses as the result of suspect examinations and scaling back the list of 300-plus testers to a number that can be reasonably monitored or, better yet, bring all testing in-house since the division has 24 CDL testers on staff.

Implementation of the proposed reforms is critical and such reforms are long overdue. After all, the testing is designed to determine whether those operating commercial vehicles, think the biggest rigs on the road, have the knowledge and skills to safely operate those vehicles on the roadways that we and our families use every day. The Utah legislature should also be keenly interested in implementing the reforms because without them, the state could face liability for improperly licensing individuals who go forth and negligently cause injury, death and property damage.