Driver training committee almost there, but stuck on hours behind the wheel

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | Thursday, May 28, 2015

A committee that is negotiating language for a rulemaking on entry-level driver training for truck and bus operators has come to a consensus on many – but not all – of the topics at hand. Land Line Magazine Managing Editor Jami Jones is at the meetings in Washington, D.C. She says Thursday’s session was running smoothly until the agenda turned to whether there could be a required number of hours behind the wheel attached to the core curriculum.
 
The Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee has just one session left, on Friday, May 29, to reach a consensus on language to deliver to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on or before June 15.
 
Jones is there covering the meetings of the 26-member panel, which includes OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Scott Grenerth. The FMCSA-appointed committee has met for six two-day sessions as part of a negotiated rulemaking process that stakeholders hope will lead to a final rule on training.
 
“The committee is making lots of progress, but the fireworks are flying, that’s for sure,” Jones reported as Thursday’s meeting progressed.
 
She says one of the outlying issues is whether – or not – a set number of hours should be attached to a behind-the-wheel training curriculum.
 
“They decided about evaluating competency behind the wheel, but not whether or not hours should be attached to it,” she said.
 
Jones said the morning part of the session went smoothly, and she estimates that the committee is about 90 percent done with its charge.
 
“They came to a consensus on curriculum, core concepts and various driving techniques, as well as teaching hours-of-service compliance,” she said.
 
During the session, FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling thanked the committee members for their work on the effort to develop standards for entry-level training.

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