What Training Do New Truck Drivers Receive?

A new federal rule means we may have better-trained new truck drivers on the road – but not for three more years.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last month finalized a rule that establishes minimum training standards for those obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL).   The rule is 10 years in the making and a watered down version of what it earlier proposed.

While it becomes federal law in February 2017, it won’t legally apply until February 2020.

Training for Class A CDL Truck Drivers

These new training standards apply to Class A Class B commercial driver’s licenses (CDL).

A Class A CDL is required for tractor-trailers and Class B CDLs for other large and heavy commercial vehicles, such as tourist buses and box (or delivery) trucks.  In many instances, drivers with a Class A CDL can drive Class B vehicles, but never the other way around.  So this new rule applies not only to first-time CDL applicants but those wishing to move up from Class B to Class A tractor-trailers.

The truck driver training requirements include time spent behind the wheel and in the classroom.  However, there is no minimum time amount for either.  In the FMCA’s earlier version, the rule required prospective Class A truck drivers to log at least 30 hours behind the wheel and Class B truckers 15 hours of driving time.

Trucking Industry Objects to Minimum Hours of Driving Experience

Both of these driving time provisions were dropped in the final version after negotiations with trucking industry representatives who objected to them.

The classroom instructional portion of new-truck-driver training suffered the same fate.  While such instruction will be mandatory, the rule does not specify a certain number of hours hitting the books.

Both the driving and classroom training will be done by instructors who will be certified by the FMCSA, which is a new and needed dynamic.

But given that human error is the leading cause of fatal trucking accidents, it is concerning that the final training requirements for new truck drivers are less than originally proposed.  And that even these modest mandated training thresholds won’t apply for 36 months is even more troublesome.

Truck drivers who aren’t experienced to properly handle their rigs pose dangers to all drivers.  So do the companies that knowingly put poorly trained truckers on the road.

If you were seriously injured or had a loved one killed in a tractor-trailer accident, consult an attorney who handles trucking accidents to pursue your legal rights for just compensation.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.

Authored by: Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. posted in Trucking Accidents on February 14, 2017