CDL school eager to get more students on the road as New York looks to ease restrictions

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Starting Tuesday, New York is asking people to weigh in on a proposal to help fix driver shortages for school buses and trucks.

Last week, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a plan to make it easier to get a road test. The plan would let qualified third parties test drivers—instead of just the DMV, which offers a limited number of tests per week.

The CDL Schools is already testing their trainees in other states. They say it cuts down on training time and gets many more people on the road before they lose their training knowledge.

NewsChannel 13 spoke to Andrea Hanley, Executive Vice President of The CDL Schools. Truck driver training is in her blood.

“In the blood, at the dinner table, all over,” Hanley joked.

For decades, her family has run a CDL training business spanning several states. She says she sees more truck driver trainees than school bus drivers, since districts often line up their training with the school calendar and offer special incentives.

At their locations in New York, The CDL Schools rely on the DMV to do the testing.

“Currently, state tests are booked out anywhere in the region at least five, sometimes six weeks,” Hanley explained.

It’s a wait she says the companies and school districts who need her trainees can’t afford right now.

“It’s not just our problem, it’s any business’ problem or any school district’s problem that is looking to get more drivers out there on the roads,” she said.

But New York is considering letting other state agencies, then qualified driving schools, test school bus and truck drivers.

“There’s quite a backlog,” said Courtney Singh, who was training Monday to drive a tractor-trailer. “Decided, do something I’ve always wanted to do, since there’s such a shortage, why not.”

Getting permission to test students like Singh on site would get them out delivering much-needed products, faster.

“It also helps us give them a predictable training schedule, so they have a clear start date and end date, what’s so important about that, all of them have jobs waiting for them when they get their CDL,” Hanley said.

The state is asking for people’s input on the proposed changes. Click here to learn how to weigh in.