Will new regulations for licensed truck drivers improve safety?

After five months of regulatory reviews mandated by the current White House administration, national training standards for new truck drivers are now law. As of June 5, carriers, trainers and other stakeholders have until February 20, 2020 to comply with the newly finalized regulations.

Commercial driver’s license applicants who receive their CDLs on February 7, 2020 or after will now be required to undergo training based on a specific core curriculum. Specific coursework for Class A certification includes:

  • Basic operation of a vehicle
  • Vehicle control systems and dashboard instruments
  • Pre- and post-trip inspections
  • Backing and docking
  • Coupling and uncoupling
  • Distracted driving
  • Use of signals and other vehicle communication
  • Emergency situations
  • Roadside inspections
  • Truck maintenance
  • Handling cargo
  • Hours of service
  • Wellness
  • Post-crash procedures
  • Trip planning

In addition, entry-level truck operators must undergo behind-the-wheel instruction for both wheel range and public road. Both classroom and driving elements are limited to FMCSA-approved provider from the Training Provider Registry. Instruction can only take place with FMCSA-approved drivers who operate their own facilities, meet certain criteria, and hold FMCSA certification.

While key stakeholders support the reforms, the final version lacks a minimum time for behind-the-wheel training. Instead of the required minimum of 30 hours of course and on-the-road time, successful completion is defined as proficient demonstration of all elements of curricula while they actually control the power unit during a driving lesson.

The lack of required minimum hours remains a point of contention for trucking lobbyists who are still encouraging the agency to incorporate. However, all parties are unified in ensuring safe operation for both operators and drivers who share the road with them.

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Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne is an accomplished lawyer who practices in state and federal courts in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. He brings more than 30 years of experience and a long record of success to each case. His law practice is distinguished by careful preparation and thorough analysis of each case...

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