Legislation Assemblymen John J. Burzichelli, Raj Mukherji and Jamel Holley sponsored to allow third-party vendors to administer the driving test required to operate commercial trucks and buses in New Jersey recently was advanced by an Assembly committee.

Whereas drivers in most other states can set an appointment and take the test for a commercial driver’s license in the span of a few weeks, New Jersey drivers often must wait months, Burzichelli noted.

“There are people in New Jersey who are capable of driving for a living and want to pursue good job opportunities but can’t, because they have to wait months for a chance to take the CDL examination. That doesn’t just hurt them as individuals. It hurts our entire economy,” said Burzichelli (D-Cumberland / Gloucester / Salem). “The majority of the country lets third-party vendors administer CDL testing. Qualified drivers in New Jersey shouldn’t be left behind simply because we don’t.”

“Our state should be doing everything in its power to connect people who are willing and able to work with opportunities to provide for themselves and their families,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “Third-party vendors will help expedite the CDL process and allow people to earn a living as drivers as soon as possible.”

“Drivers play a critical role in the economy by delivering the parts needed to make a product and then delivering the finished product to the shelves. More drivers on the road would mean more products getting to stores and being sold, which ultimately grows the economy,” said Holley (D-Union).“Expanding the availability of CDL testing will affect drivers directly, but it also will have a positive impact on all of New Jersey.”

The bill (A3946) would establish a pilot program appointing three private third-party vendors to administer CDL testing. Of the vendors appointed to participate in the program, one each shall be located in the northern, central and southern regions of the state.

Although current state law authorizes the Motor Vehicle Commission to appoint third-party vendors to administer CDL testing, it does not establish guidelines for testing or give the MVC the power to contract with the vendors.

The pilot program would create a framework for the use of third-party vendors. Under the legislation, within nine months of establishing the program, the chief administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission must submit an evaluation to the governor and the legislature with recommendations that would facilitate the permanent use of third-party vendors.

The bill was advanced Monday by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.