New Federal Training Rules Proposed For Commercial Driversby Jana Ritter - Published: 3/04/2016
On Friday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration finally responded to ongoing pressure from Teamsters and safety advocates to do something about the insufficient training standards for commercial drivers. The agency proposed a new rule that would require new truck and bus drivers to log a certain amount of hours behind the wheel and receive FMSCA approved training in order to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
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To be more specific, the new proposed rules are as follows:
- To obtain a Class A CDL, which is required to drive tractor-trailer vehicles that weigh 26,001 pounds or more, a driver would have to complete 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training with an instructional program that meets FMCSA standards. Of the 30 hours, 10 must be on a practice driving range.
- To obtain a Class B CDL, which is required to operate heavy straight trucks such as a dump truck, box truck, school bus, city transit bus or motorcoach, drivers would have to log a minimum of 15 hours of behind-the-wheel training. Of the 15 hours, seven hours would have to be on a practice driving range.
“With the help of our partners, today’s proposal serves as a major step towards ensuring that commercial vehicle drivers receive the necessary training required to safely operate a large truck or motorcoach.” said Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx. “Well-trained drivers are safer drivers, which leads to greater safety for our families and friends on our highways and roads.”
The new rules would apply to all first-time CDL applicants, current CDL holders wanting to upgrade their license and previously disqualified drivers looking to re-acquire a CDL license. Military drivers, farmers and firefighters would be exempt from these new federal CDL requirements. In addition to the core curriculum and behind-the-wheel requirements for drivers, the new rule seeks to establish a registry of FMCSA-approved driver training providers and would outline minimum qualifications related to instructors, testing, training vehicles, etc.
The proposed rule is set to be published on Monday, March 7th and is open to public comment for the next 60 days. The FMCSA will then make any changes to the rule based on public feedback and submit the proposed rule to be approved by the DOT. The three-year countdown to its implementation would then begin after its final publication in the Federal Register.
If you would like to comment on the rule during the next 60 days, go to regulations.gov then and search for docket number FMCSA-2007–27748.