CMV Litigation: The Road Test “Equivalent”

The Road Test “Equivalent”

If a driver is already in possession of a valid CDL issued by a State which requires a road test in the type of vehicle the motor carrier intends to assign, this may be accepted as the equivalent of a road test. The Road Test “Equivalent”The motor carrier may also accept a copy of a valid certificate of a driver’s road test issued within the past three years.

Observations

If a case involves a possible operational error by the driver, scrutinizing the road testing process is in order. The driver should be asked what type of vehicle he was road tested with to determine if it was the type of vehicle he was then assigned by the motor carrier. If a CDL was accepted as an equivalent of a road test, seek to determine if it was issued by a State that required a road test in the type of vehicle the driver was assigned. If the motor carrier conducted the road test itself, determine whether any problems were noted, and if so, if additional training was needed and completed.
Any standard for grading drivers is conspicuously absent. This ambiguity may expose a flaw in the process. For example, if the driver was noted to approach a stale green light while accelerating, should this have caused him to fail the test? If not, can it be argued that the motor carrier had a duty to require re-testing or additional training? This type of issue could be significant in a case involving a driver that ran a red light and killed another motorist.
Although there is a model format for the certificate of driver’s road test, no such model is given for the road test form that a motor carrier should use to actually grade a driver. Therefore, be certain to obtain a copy of the road test form itself, and compare it to the requirements set forth in the regulations. If there is any question, it is probably wise to depose the person who conducted the road test to determine that person’s competence to administer the test, evaluate the driver’s performance, and grade the specific road test form at issue.

 

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