Minimum driver training standards advance

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Updated Sep 2, 2016

The creation of minimum truck driver training standards has taken one step closer to implementation, but still remains several years off.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sent the final version of a rule to implement the standards to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. Once the OMB approves the rule, usually within 90 days, the rule can be published at the DOT’s discretion.

The Entry-Level Driver Training rule will go into effect three years after its final publication in the Federal Register, according to the rule’s proposed version, issued earlier this year.

If the Final Rule matches up with the proposed rule released in March, FMCSA will implement a core curriculum for new truckers receiving their CDL and require them to receive 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training before being issued the license. Additionally, the proposed rule outlined minimum qualifications related to instructors, testing, training vehicles and more, which would be used to establish a registry of approved trainers.

The core curriculum outlined in the proposed rule was broken down into two categories: Class time and actual driving time.

The classroom portion of the curriculum includes instruction on:

  • basic operation of trucks including instruments and controls
  • how to perform pre- and post-trip inspections
  • how to shift properly
  • how to back and dock a truck
  • how to hook and unhook from a trailer
  • how to operate at night
  • hours-of-service

The driving component requires at least 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training, 10 hours of which must be spent driving on a range, along with either 10 hours driving on public roads or 10 trips on public roads no less than 50 minutes each. The remainder of the time required behind the wheel is up to the discretion of the trainer.

FMCSA estimated in the proposed rule the 10-year cost of the rule would total $5.55 billion on an “undiscounted basis,” which includes the cost to everyone involved, including carriers, drivers, trainers and state agencies.

The driver training requirements could have been altered based on public comments received by FMCSA when the proposed rule was published.