Driver training: Final rule effective date delayed until May 22

By Sandi Soendker, Land Line editor-in-chief | 3/21/2017

In accordance with the White House’s regulatory freeze, the effective date of the final rule titled “Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators” is being further delayed until May 22, 2017.

This action is being taken by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in accordance with the presidential directive freezing regs pending review. The freeze memo was announced Jan. 20 and was not an unusual move for an incoming administration. The new minimum training regulation was among those affected.

The issue of entry-level driving requirements has been a can kicked down the road for more than 25 years. A timeline would be lengthy, but on Dec. 8, 2016, a rule was finally published. With the new administration’s regulatory “freeze,” it was initially delayed until Tuesday, March 21. Today, the second delay was published in the Federal Register.

According to Duane DeBruyne, FMCSA’s deputy director of communications, the original compliance date of February 2020 is unaffected. 

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has long been involved in the endeavor to establish standards for entry-level truck drivers. Despite OOIDA’s approval of the greater part of the new rule, the Association was not satisfied with the agency’s decision to ignore a minimum number of hours in behind-the-wheel training in the final rule.

In a Dec. 21, 2016, OOIDA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Truck Safety Coalition, and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways filed a petition for review with the FMCSA. The group argued that by tossing the actual hours behind the wheel, the rule disregards congressional mandates, federal court precedent and recommendations by the agency-appointed committee. According to OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer, “that petition was unfortunately, not granted a review.”

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