Trucker 7472 Cdl Cones Ts

OOIDA, safety groups want review of CDL training rule

Dec. 30, 2016
FMCSA wrong to drop minimum training hours requirement, they say

So much for teamwork and letting “stakeholders” collaborate to develop a trucking regulation. Four members of the advisory committee that drafted the recently published Entry-Level Driver Training Rule have petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to reconsider, citing “numerous reasons why major aspects of the Final Rule are not in the public interest.”

The petition, posted Dec. 27, was filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. (OOIDA), a long-time advocate for a federal training standard, along with the Truck Safety Coalition, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways.

They state that the advisory committee (ELDTAC) had reached a consensus that included a requirement for a minimum number of hours of behind-the-wheel (BTW) instruction as part of the CDL curriculum, and their petition also quotes FMCSA’s own support for the BTW hours requirement in the rule as it was initially proposed.

That requirement, however, was removed in the final version.

As the petition notes, the “so-called” federal performance standards now require “no BTW training at all,” and therefore amount to “exactly the same bar” that the skills test administered by state licensing agencies requires. Namely, drivers who can handle a tractor-trailer in a parking lot can pass the test with no “real-world,” on-highway training. And, instead of objective standards, the final rule leaves determination of whether a student has demonstrated the required skills proficiency “entirely in the hands of the instructor.”

“The Final Rule does nothing more than ensure that future CDL candidates will acquire only the most rudimentary skill set needed to pass the most basic of maneuvering tests, as has always been the case, while depriving both future CDL applicants, and the travelling public of, developing better trained, more skilled novice CMV drivers,” the petition says.

The petition also rejects the final rule’s position that the BTW hours training minimums are burdensome, and would therefore violate federal rulemaking procedures and the will of Congress.

“In this case, the requirement for minimum BTW hours is necessary and not particularly burdensome,” the petition says, and it goes on to discount FMCSA’s position that there is no data supporting a link between training hours and crash reduction.

During the negotiated rulemaking (REGNEG) process, ELDTAC supported the requirement by a 24-2 margin, sufficient to sustain a “consensus” recommendation.  Representatives of the American Trucking Assns. and the National Assn. of Small Trucking Cos. cast dissenting votes on the training time minimums, arguing that the hours requirement is unsupported by science and goes against federal performance-focused guidelines. ATA otherwise supported the committee’s range of recommendations.

“ATA has consistently advocated that skills, not simply time spent in a classroom or behind the wheel, should be the deciding factor if a student should be allowed to take a commercial driver’s license test,” said ATA Executive Vice President of Advocacy Bill Sullivan when the final rule was published. “[The rule] is a victory for common sense and for safety.”

About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor

Kevin has served as editor-in-chief of Trailer/Body Builders magazine since 2017—just the third editor in the magazine’s 60 years. He is also editorial director for Endeavor Business Media’s Commercial Vehicle group, which includes FleetOwner, Bulk Transporter, Refrigerated Transporter, American Trucker, and Fleet Maintenance magazines and websites.

Working from Little Rock, Kevin has covered trucking and manufacturing for 15 years. His writing and commentary about the trucking industry and, previously, business and government, has been recognized with numerous state, regional, and national journalism awards.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...