A report from an Arkansas news station suggests that state police are frequently pulling over truck drivers who do not have enough understanding of the English language to read road signs. The report from KARK is entitled “Danger Ahead? Truckers Who Can’t Read AR Roadway Signs a Common Problem.” The report features a ride along with Arkansas State Police Corporal Jeremy Watkins.
Watkins says that through federal law requires that drivers speak English, “It’s very common to stop a driver who cannot read or speak the English language efficiently.” Watkins argues that not speaking enough English to understand road signs could put others at risk. The Arkansas Trucking Association issued a statement to KARK on the issue of non-English speaking CDL drivers: “Federal regulations governing our industry require drivers of commercial motor vehicles to read and speak English sufficiently to understand road signs and communicate with enforcement personnel and the general public. However, there may be cases where a tester in one state believes a driver can effectively communicate in English, but enforcement personnel in another state has a different opinion.
The same standards apply to drivers, regardless of where the trip originates or where their credentials were issued. It is complicated with some states offering their exams in multiple languages, despite the federal standard. This occurs for motorists as well; for example, Arkansas offers drivers’ license study guides in a language other than English. There is no separate road test for drivers coming into the United States. A road test is mandated as part of the federal CDL testing guidelines, but it is not re-administered or given specifically to drivers engaged in transporting goods across the border.”