LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a big time slowdown with the issuance of commercial driver's license learning permits, a critical step in becoming a fully-fledged trucker driver.
Driving a vehicle that can haul up to 80,000 pounds or 40 tons requires a lot of skill and training, but recently commercial driving schools are running into some road blocks.
"We train students to become safe, professional truck drivers," said Brad Ball, president of Roadmaster Drivers School.
Ball says the COVID-10 related closures have impacted Department of Motor Vehicle operations in at least 20 states across the country, including Nevada.
"The state driver's license agencies, have in some cases, closed," said Ball.
"27 state's [DMVs] are open across the country, but 23 states are not operating, or operating in such a limited basis that commercial driving students are having a hard time getting the permits they need," explained Ball.
Ball says the closure means truck driving students, or those who are seeking a commercial driver's license, or CDL, cannot get the required learner's permit.
The Nevada DMV says there is no time frame of opening up the CDL process and there are no workarounds.
A commercial learner's permit, or CLP, holder, is required to have a CDL holder in the vehicle with them at all times and they must hold hold the permit for a minimum of 14 days before they can take a skills test, according to Nevada DMV authorities.
"We appreciate everything the Nevada DMV has done for keeping our trucks on the road and we understand the situation they are in right now, it's tough," said Paul Enos with the Nevada Trucking Association.
Enos says the Nevada Trucking Association has been working with Nevada authorities to come up with solutions.
Enos says there has been and continues to be a shortage of truckers across the country even before COVID-19.
"More and more people are calling us and inquiring as to our program to try and kind out how trucking can be perhaps their new career," said Ball.
Balls suggests his driver's school and examiners could issue the learner permits to keep students from being idle.
13 Investigates has learned Nevada does not allow that and the DMV does not have the technology or legislative power to ensure the integrity of the commercial driving learner's permit tests.
Information regarding the Nevada DMV commercial driver's license program can be found here.