OOIDA 'cautiously optimistic' about training rule for new drivers

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 9/22/2014

OOIDA has made a formal request to be a stakeholder in a federal negotiated rulemaking for new entry-level driver training standards. The Association hopes the process being undertaken by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will result in a hands-on training standard that will improve highway safety.

In a letter to FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling, OOIDA offered up the real-world perspective of its membership to the administration as part of the negotiated rulemaking.

A negotiated rulemaking relies on direct stakeholder input to a moderator known as a convener. The process differs from a traditional rulemaking that uses notices and a public comment process to collect information from interested parties.

As a stakeholder, OOIDA would engage directly with the convener who would then report back to the administration.

FMCSA announced a negotiated rulemaking process on Aug. 19, its first action on entry-level driver training since September 2013 when the agency withdrew a previous proposed rule filed in 2007. The withdrawal came after Congress called for new entry-level training standards in the 2012 highway bill known as MAP-21, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century.

“This process has been long, and getting to a final rule is overdue,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said in the letter to FMCSA.

“That said, OOIDA is cautiously optimistic that by utilizing the negotiated rulemaking process, FMCSA can gather input from all stakeholders in a manner that will result in training standards that will truly improve highway safety and the overall trucking industry. 

“As such, OOIDA formally requests to be a participant in the negotiated rulemaking to implement Section 32304 of MAP-21. We look forward to engaging with the agency’s convener during the initial steps of this process, as well as other opportunities to provide our perspective and expertise to this important task.”

The history surrounding entry-level standards – specifically the lack thereof – goes back decades. Land Line published a timeline of all the attempts, missteps and outright failures to get a rule in place.

Just last week, two safety groups and the Teamsters filed a lawsuit in an attempt to force the FMCSA to get a standard in place as soon as possible.

An attorney for the plaintiffs, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and the Teamsters says the lawsuit is separate from the negotiated rulemaking and is needed because the negotiated rulemaking has not set anything in stone and may not lead to a final rule. Click here for more details about the negotiated rulemaking and the lawsuit.

Copyright © OOIDA