Nearly 93 percent of Maryland communities depend exclusively on trucks to deliver goods that residents and businesses rely on in their daily lives.
But the trucking industry is facing a shortage of commercial drivers, said Louis Campion, president and CEO of the Maryland Motor Truck Association – and the challenge has been heightened by the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
So, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) has been helping Marylanders secure much-needed jobs and keep the supply chain moving by putting more commercial drivers on the road.
“Certainly, we know our truck drivers are playing a critical role in making sure goods are getting where they’re needed during the State of Emergency,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer. “Our employees are helping make that happen.”
MDOT MVA set up a hotline and email address for those needing Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) services, and its employees have completed about 500 CDL transactions even as offices were officially closed. Some drivers needed commercial license learner’s permits; others needed to complete their driving tests. In those cases, MDOT MVA employees donned their personal protective equipment and conducted those tests smoothly and efficiently.
Administrator Nizer called MDOT MVA employees “incredibly resilient” and “selfless.”
“I consider our employees frontline workers,” Administrator Nizer said. “I’ve been so proud of them and the dedication they’ve displayed.”
As part of the agency’s CDL efforts, MDOT MVA has partnered with third-party testing schools, even taking the agency’s mobile vehicle out to help issue commercial learner’s permits.
Campion, of the Maryland Motor Truck Association, has provided updates to drivers about the services MDOT MVA is still conducting, despite the State of Emergency. Maryland is home to approximately 113,000 commercial driver’s license holders and more than 18,000 trucking companies.
Within the industry, there is concern about a rush of drivers vying for MDOT MVA services when the State of Emergency comes to an end, Campion said. He wants drivers to know that the services they need are available now. Commercial drivers have completed approximately 100 additional CDL transactions online since MDOT MVA implemented customer service system upgrades on May 24.
“This has been a really great government and industry partnership,” Campion said. “There have been so many cooperative efforts, in so many ways, to make sure goods are getting delivered to people. But without a doubt MVA has been spectacular.”
For more information about MDOT MVA’s emergency CDL needs during the COVID-19 State of Emergency, email COVID19MVAAction@mdot.maryland.gov or call 1-800-950-1682.