The commercial freight industry and the American economy, depend on qualified drivers who know their way around a rig.
It takes a combination of coursework and on-the-job training for aspiring truck drivers to be certified for the road. The liability that comes with 20-ton and 40-ton vehicles is nothing carriers want to take chances on. This makes thorough, complete commercial driver’s license (CDL) testing procedures very important.
But it seems that some drivers in Florida that have earned their CDL from Key Power Driving School didn’t get the type of training they needed. Officials in the state have notified 1,500 drivers who were licensed through the organization that they must retake their driving test or lose their license.
Key Power Driving School had its locations in Miami and Labelle shut down by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The third-party testing company had its agreement terminated, after officials determined it posed serious danger to public health, safety, and welfare.
The state’s agency severed the decade-long agreement and also noted that the majority of drivers who need to retest are in the state. 1,305 drivers in Florida will be affected, in addition to another 195 drivers who live out of state.
Those looking to recover their testing costs can place a claim against Key Power’s $200,000 bond. It was discovered the school omitted important parts of the three-part test and manipulated the results on CDL score shoots.
The state agency noted that, while they were observing, passing rates for CDL tests at the school tumbled from 60 percent all the way down to 11 percent.
The discrepancy is a clear sign of data manipulation, according to a spokesperson for the organization. Those tested by the organization will have 60 days to retake or have their license revoked.
Trucking companies are facing a lot of pressure to bring on new drivers. The driver shortage is listed by the American Trucking Associations, a prominent organization in the freight industry, as one of the most concerning topics among carriers. A combination of more stringent regulatory controls and a large number of veteran drivers nearing retirement has left the industry with thousands of spots to fill.
It could be possible that the school was shortcutting the testing procedures in order to provide truckers more quickly to the organizations that need them. However, there have been no official reports indicating that this was the case.
There have been multiple cases where freight companies faced repercussions for improper testing procedures. Drivers have had their medical cards revoked in the past after it was revealed the doctor who performed their physical did not administer the procedures properly.
Carriers have also faced punishment for failing to have their rigs serviced and inspected properly, with a couple cases even showing companies bribing inspectors and regulatory personnel to get an easy pass. Still, many trucking companies take these matters very seriously, and only rely on schools that produce competent, safe drivers.