Changes as of August 28, 2023

Modernized CDL Testing

The FMCSA is made changes to the CDL Testing structure and PennDOT has adopted these changes.


What changed?

WHEN? – August 28, 2023

WHAT CHANGED? – The Vehicle Inspection Test and the Basic Control Skills Test


WHY DID IT CHANGE? – To create more consistent CDL training standards across different states

What are the 3 parts of the test?

1. Vehicle Inspection Test

The New Inspection Test now consists of fewer items but focuses on safety-critical items.

2. Basic Control Skills Test

The New Skills Test went from 3 backing maneuvers to 4 backing maneuvers.

3. Road Test

The Road Test stayed the same, so nothing to worry about here.

Vehicle Inspection Test Changes

In the new vehicle inspection test, there are fewer items for the driver to be tested on, but the focus will be on safety-critical items.

Download your Vehicle Inspection Checklists:

Change 1 = Inspection

  • Drivers are now required to describe what they are inspecting
  • Drivers may be required to include why they are inspecting it (NOT IN PA)

The new Driver’s Manual includes detailed descriptions and why it is important to inspect these items. Drivers are now required to describe what they are inspecting AND may need to include why they are inspecting it, but not in Pennsylvania.

Change 2 = four-part Air Brakes check

  • Revised hydraulic brake check
  • Revised coupling system criteria

You can automatically fail if the two items below are not done properly:

  • air (1-2-3-4)
  • hydraulic brake check

Basic Control Skills Test

The Basic Skills Test changed from 3 types of backing maneuvers to 4 maneuvers. Now, drivers are also required to perform the maneuvers in a much smaller area.

Forward Stop

Demonstrate your ability to stop at a designated point. You must stop within a three-foot box and cannot get out and look.

Forward Offset Tracking

Demonstrate your ability to maneuver a vehicle around other objects while moving forward.


Demonstrate your ability to offset back and park a vehicle at the end of the alley. Your back bumper must be inside a three-foot box. Note: This is basically a mix of parallel backing and offset backing.

Straight-Line backing

This maneuver will stay the same.

A full explanation of the changes

Read our article that covers the changes in even more detail.