Father of 5 among hundreds of truck drivers ordered to retake tests in Virginia: 'It's not fair'

Abdul Zadran: 'We have to do a hard job because we have to work, we have to send money to our family. They don't know about our pain here.'
Posted at 5:18 PM, Aug 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-21 07:27:06-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Abdul Zadran loves his home country.

"If I have a very small room in Afghanistan, I will never change that," he said.

Now, he must stay in a very small room in a motel off Richmond Highway, as he waits to find work.

"We come here to work, and here there are more opportunities than Afghanistan to work," he said.

Abdul Zadran
Abdul Zadran

In February, Zadran and several other Afghan refugees came to Virginia to obtain their Commercial Driver's License (CDL) at 5 Star CDL, hoping their travels to the commonwealth for a new career would prove fruitful.

Zadran paid roughly $7,000 in the process before passing his test, hoping to get a return on his investment.

Months later, Zadran was one of hundreds of students notified by the Department of Motor Vehicles that 5 Star CDL may have been improperly administering driving tests, and any student who had taken classes there since October of 2022 would need to retest to get a new license.

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In a statement, a spokesperson with the DMV told CBS 6 in some cases, "the applicants had made driving errors during the test that should've resulted in an automatic failure."

Zadran had to notify his place of work.

"I was working for Western Express as a driver. When they called me back to come and retest, the company told me, 'When are you coming back?' I said I cannot tell him when because I didn't know when I would be passed," Zadran said. "I lost the job. Until I can find another job, it could take two more months or one more month. And during this time, I cannot make any money. I have no money. Who will help you here?"

Now he and about 15 other Afghan refugees are staying together, going through the process once again, frustrated and wondering if they were wrongfully passed in the first place.

"It's not fair," Zadran said. "It's not acceptable."

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles

5 Star CDL said it would not comment on the matter but made personnel changes quickly after the initial investigation began. The company is offering retesting for free.

The DMV is also working to get students passed as soon as possible, extending weekend testing hours, establishing a temporary testing site, and dedicating a specific person to help assist testers who may be impacted.

But Zadran said the help does not make up for the money lost.

"They're coming from very far states, we have some friends that come from Texas, Kentucky, more people come from Kentucky. They don't have money. You have to spend on gas, you pay for motels, eating, there's many things you have to spend money on," he explained.

Abdul Zadran
Abdul Zadran

Zadran said he now does not have money to send to his family in Afghanistan, the reason he wanted to get his CDL license in the first place.

"We have to do a hard job because we have to work, we have to send money to our family," Zadran said. "They don't know about our pain here," he said. "We have a lot of pain."

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