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January 14, 2009

 

Scoring Errors Identified on DMV Tests for Commercial Licenses

Audit Also Finds DMV Does Not Verify Required Medical Information

The State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has given commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) to unqualified drivers and does not check the medical certificates that attest to an applicant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, according to an audit by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“There are approximately 600,000 commercially licensed drivers in New York State,” DiNapoli said. “Some of these drivers transport hazardous waste and dangerous materials through communities across the state. DMV should be doing everything possible to protect those communities. When it comes to operating these kinds of trucks carrying this kind of payload, public safety has to come first.”

Applicants for a CDL in New York are required to pass a vision test, a written exam, a driving test and provide proof of identity. In addition, applicants for commercial licenses must provide medical certificates attesting to their fitness to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

DiNapoli’s auditors examined DMV’s oversight of commercial driver’s licensing activities from April 1, 2005 to March 31, 2008. They found that 14 of the 894 written exams reviewed, taken for both general knowledge and special endorsements, were improperly graded, allowing nine unqualified applicants to receive CDLs and five applicants to receive special approval for tasks such as transporting hazardous waste. Auditors were unable to review 123 tests because they had been lost, destroyed or didn’t have answer keys.

Auditors also discovered that DMV does not have written procedures to verify that license applicants properly complete required medical information on the CDL application or check if the required medical certificate is filled out by an authorized medical professional. Current federal regulations do not require the state to verify the medical information.

The audit recommends the department:

  • improve procedures for grading exams and retaining exam records;
  • develop written procedures to verify that medical certificate information is completed properly; and
  • take steps to validate medical certificates.

DMV officials have taken actions to improve controls over the grading of the tests. They indicated that they are awaiting final federal requirements on the medical certificates before taking action.

Click here to view the audit, visit our website.

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