Driver training proposal released by FMCSA

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | Friday, March 04, 2016

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released its proposed entry-level driver training regulation, which is built on the work of a diversified group of industry stakeholders.

Set to publish in the Federal Register on Monday, March 7, the FMCSA proposal details a driver training regulation targeting first-time CDL applicants and a refresher course for those who have lost their CDLs.

The driver training – dubbed ELDT by the agency – proposal takes into account the consensus recommendation from the Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee that met over the first few months of 2015 to hammer out the requirements of a driver training regulation.

Among key points in the committee’s recommendation and included in FMCSA’s proposed rulemaking are a requirement of both classroom or and behind the wheel training.

There is not a specific time frame outlined for the classroom or theory component – with committee members agreeing that the classroom criteria was comprehensive enough that it could not be accomplished quickly. The 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training is in the proposed regulation. The 30 hours is to be split 10 hours on the range, 10 on public roads, and the remaining 10 divided as the trainer sees fit.

The proposed rulemaking also details various accommodations proposed for small-business owner-operators or individuals who will train three or fewer people every 12 months. The proposal ensures that training is not limited to large fleets or schools.

Assurances that the training is quality for those seeking their CDL for the first time come in the form of a driver trainer registry. The registry is designed to track self-certified trainers, their trainees, and any problems that could arise because of substandard training efforts.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has long pressed FMCSA for a driver training regulation.

“We are still reviewing the rule and will likely have some questions for clarification on some provisions. In general, we view the proposal positively and are encouraged to see the agency continue to make strides toward a final, solid rule,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said.

The comment period on the training mandate will begin on Monday.

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