Building on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order and federal partnership to address the global supply chain crisis, the California Department of Motor Vehicles is taking immediate action to tackle the commercial truck driver shortage and keep goods moving quickly between California’s largest ports and major distribution centers.
In an effort to safely and efficiently license more commercial drivers and help address the national shortage of workers in this industry, the DMV is announcing actions that will nearly double its capacity to conduct commercial driving tests in the coming months.
“With today’s announcement, we’ll get more truckers on the road to get goods where they need to go faster,” said Governor Newsom. “The supply chain crisis is not a California specific problem, but we’ve taken swift action to relieve congestion and increase our capacity to move goods quickly.”
The DMV will now offer Saturday commercial driving test appointments at three additional offices – Fullerton, Montebello and Winnetka – bringing the total number of Saturday test sites to 15. The Department began offering an extra testing day at select locations earlier this year and is also training more staff to administer the tests and redirecting examiners to the areas of greatest demand to significantly expand capacity.
“There is a real need to increase the number of safe truck drivers in California to transport goods. Our goal is to give everyone who needs to take a test for a commercial driver’s license the opportunity to be tested within 30 days if they meet the requirements,” said DMV director Steve Gordon. “Depending on the location, prospective commercial drivers can get an appointment for a test within a week.”
The DMV currently administers approximately 5,000 commercial driving tests each month statewide. Once it fully implements the strategic staffing changes, combined with expanded Saturday testing, the DMV expects to add another 4,700 appointments a month. Because the highest demand for tests is in the greater Los Angeles area, the DMV’s main focus for staffing is in Southern California – with flexibility to respond if appointment availability starts to lag in other regions.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DMV has taken numerous steps so commercial drivers can continue delivering essential products and supplies without having to worry about visiting a DMV office. The DMV has offered commercial driver’s license extensions, and began offering more commercial driving services online, including medical certificate updates, CDL renewals, and motor carrier permit renewals. The DMV also no longer requires drivers with an out-of-state commercial license to take a knowledge or skills test when transferring to a California commercial license with the same class and endorsements. The DMV continues to look for ways to improve services and make more appointments available.
The Governor’s Executive Order also directs the Department of Finance to work with state agencies to develop longer-term solutions that support port operations and goods movement for consideration in the Governor’s Budget, which may include port and transportation infrastructure improvements, electrification of the goods movement system from port to delivery and workforce development. The Order builds on earlier efforts this year by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to ease supply chain issues by engaging the diverse network of stakeholders along the supply chain to discuss key challenges and identify short-term and long-term solutions.
California’s ports processed 211 million cargo containers since 2010, 2.9 times more than any other state. The state processed 31% of America’s exports and 43% of our imports, meeting the needs of our state’s and our nation’s consumers and keeping our businesses going throughout the pandemic and beyond.