Intuitively, inexperienced drivers are at high risk for catastrophic trucking accidents. That’s why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed a rule for training entry level commercial truckers.
The agency’s mission is to reduce commercial vehicle accidents. The new rule seeks to enact an effective set of uniform standards that ensures truck drivers are better prepared to avoid the dangers they present to others on the road.
New Training Standards to Help Avoid Truck Accidents
The new rule, published March 7 by FMCSA, covers not only new truck drivers but those responsible for training them. It establishes minimum qualifications for training instructors who will be included in an approved registry of trainers.
The federal proposal calls for two key components in training new drivers: theoretical training and actual hours spent behind the wheel.
The theory portion of a trucker’s training includes:
· An in-depth familiarization of a truck’s instruments
· How to control an 18-wheeler under challenging road and traffic situations
· Signs of truck driver fatigue
· Vehicle maintenance
· Proper handling of cargo
New Truckers Will Spend 30 Hours Behind the Wheel
The rule mandates that new drivers spend at least 30 hours behind the wheel before they receive their commercial driver’s license. This applies to individuals seeking a Class A commercial driver’s license, which allows them to operate a tractor-trailer weighing 13 tons or more.
A trucker-in-training must spend at least 10 hours on a driving range. The remaining 20 hours must include 10 hours driving on a public road. Alternatively, a new truck driver can drive 10 times on a public road for at least 50 minutes each time.
Those wanting to drive a smaller commercial vehicle, such as a straight truck or motorcoach, will need 15 hours of hands-on driving, including seven hours on a driving range.
The American Trucking Associations – the U.S. trucking industry’s lobbying organization – has publicly objected to the driving hours requirements, calling them “arbitrary.”
Thousands of innocent victims die each year in truck crashes. Better training for truck drivers seems to be a common sense effort to reducing these tragedies.
If you had a family member killed or if you were seriously hurt in a wreck caused by a trucker, an attorney who handles truck accident cases can identify all those responsible and hold them accountable.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.