The Arkansas State Police, in collaboration with the Arkansas Trucking Association, is helping to address a backlog of trained, professional truck drivers that are urgently needed to fill a deficit of some 80,000 truck driving jobs nationwide, as announced by the ATA.
Similar to non-commercial driver’s license testing, professional truck drivers must pass a written and a skills test in order to obtain a CDL. Due to staffing issues and a limited number of test sites, CDL candidates have been sidelined, waiting weeks to complete the skills test.
“Our industry desperately needs more safe and qualified drivers to be able to stock grocery shelves and deliver all of life’s essentials,” said ATA President Shannon Newton. “With ongoing supply chain and workforce issues, delaying the certification of fully-trained drivers impacts everyone – not just drivers.”
After Newton was notified of drivers facing weeks-long delays between completing their CDL training and being able to take the CDL skills test, she approached the Arkansas State Police in order to find a solution. The ASP and the ATA came up with a multi-prong approach in the effort of solving the backlogging issue.
The Arkansas trucking industry is taking the follow protocols:
- The Saline County Fairgrounds will provide temporary overflow testing starting May 31, for 45 days.
- CDL examiners are approved for overtime through the end of June
- CDL examiners have been directed to remain dedicated to CDL testing candidates
- ASP is aggressively attempting to fill examiner vacancies with qualified testing personnel
- The ASP will consider expanding third-party testing options
“We commend the Arkansas State Police for implementing swift and decisive resolutions to address the backlog of CDL skills tests,” Newton said. “Our economy needs people to go to work and these drivers are ready and willing to do so, with the support of the Arkansas CDL examiners.”