CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Within weeks for people planning to get their commercial driver’s license, the process will all soon change. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced an initiative that would allow qualified third parties to offer road tests. State officials say this will create more testing locations statewide and expand capacity at the existing state-run sites.

Representatives from the New York State DMV held a virtual public hearing on Wednesday to listen to feedback from bus drivers and others in the transportation industry. Many in the industry say the top priority has to be safety. They want to make sure potential drivers are experienced enough to get behind the wheel in a short amount of time through this state proposal.

The governor’s proposal would also reduce the time it takes to get qualified CDL drivers on the road, On Wednesday, Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola tells News 10 it comes down to recruitment, getting more people into this career. Merola says right now, very few people come into his office interested to get a CDL. “The governor is very persuasive and she’s able to get her message out. She’s going to be able to attract a lot of potential employees both in the bus industry and in the truck industry so that is why DMV—we have to be ready for the influx,” said NYS DMV Commissioner Mark Schroeder.

“As we continue to fight this pandemic, we remain committed to expanding opportunities for New Yorkers, supporting our schools, and doing all we can to address the supply-chain issues that have affected many businesses throughout our state and country,” Governor Hochul said. “By enabling third parties to give the road test for truck and bus drivers, we will create new avenues for New Yorkers to begin exciting careers, for our children to get to school, and to ensure that vital goods get where they need to be.”

During the public hearing, the DMV provided an overview of the proposal that calls for a phased rollout of this initiative that would initially allow other state agencies and authorities that have large fleets of commercial vehicles to begin conducting CDL road tests. The second phase would include qualified private entities. The DMV will establish a rigorous monitoring system to ensure that qualified CDL trainers safely administer the road tests in compliance with state and federal regulations. The DMV will use the feedback gathered during the public hearing to evaluate and develop an implementation plan.

Written comments may be submitted to CDLThirdPartyTesting@dmv.ny.gov from January 18 to February 4. DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “We at DMV know how important it is to have qualified truck and bus drivers on the road, and we are committed to doing what we can to address the need. We look forward to gathering public input at this hearing and then acting to enable qualified third parties to offer CDL road tests to give New Yorkers greater opportunity to take the test and to get good jobs driving these essential vehicles.”