DRIVER TRAINING: Trucker involvement can make a difference

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Friday, April 04, 2014

This week marked a big step forward for OOIDA’s push to ensure that new drivers receive adequate behind-the-wheel training as a matter of highway safety. So what happens now?

Congress is preparing the next highway bill, and truckers can make a difference on the provisions that lawmakers will consider, or not consider, as part of that bill.

Take a moment and visit bit.ly/trainnewtruckers, or fightingfortruckers.com. Both links go to the same place, an email form that will urge Congress to pass a highway bill that includes entry-level training for new drivers.

Users of social media sites Facebook and Twitter can use and click on the hashtags related to the campaign, #TrainNewTruckers and #TruckersForSafety. Using those hashtags with posts about driver training can help those topics trend and act to compile comments on those specific subjects.

OOIDA is the voice of professional truckers, but the individual voice of each trucker is the key to a successful effort.

OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston has spoken of the need to make headway on this issue with lawmakers, congressional staff and the federal agencies that regulate trucking.

More than 20 years ago, Congress directed regulators to write a rule on driver training, yet that rule is still not on the books.

During that time frame, lawmakers and regulators have imposed regulation after regulation on small-business truckers, owner-operators and fleets large and small, and they’re not done yet. The decision-makers have more in the pipeline such as speed limiters, electronic logging devices, collision avoidance and rollover stability systems – yet nothing is being done to mandate actual behind-the-wheel training for new drivers.

OOIDA’s push hopes to change that.

If you don’t have your lawmakers on speed dial, call the Capitol Switchboard in Washington, D.C., at 202-224-3121. An operator will ask for your ZIP code and direct you to your senators or representative. Callers will most likely be directed to a congressional staffer for their lawmakers.

“Tell your lawmakers you want a new highway bill that focuses on issues of importance for truckers, like entry-level driver training,” Johnston states in his editorial.

“Tell them why you are passionate about trucking and passionate about highway safety, and why you support getting something done on training.”

Related:
ISSUES AND POSITIONS: On the offense for driver training and for a highway bill
DRIVER TRAINING: Training for new drivers must be priority for FMCSA, OOIDA says
DRIVER TRAINING: Decades later, still no entry-level training required
fightingfortruckers.com
truckersforsafety.com

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