FMCSA rescinds English proficiency changes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has withdrawn its advance notice of proposed rulemaking requesting comments on potential changes to a provision in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations involving English language proficiency.

This provision requires that drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) operating in interstate commerce be able to “read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, understand highway traffic signs and signals, respond to official inquiries, and make entries on reports and records.”

After analysis and review of the comments, FMCSA has concluded that no quantifiable data exists on which to propose modifying the regulation to require a more stringent or definitive standard, or to require state motor vehicle agencies to administer a specific test for English proficiency.

The current regulation sets forth qualifications for drivers of CMVs to read and speak English and allows each motor carrier employer the flexibility to determine the extent of proficiency needed to enforce it.

FMCSA has found no evidence to suggest that enforcement officers routinely issue citations for lack of English proficiency.

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