The days when any CDL driver could coach and instruct a young relative how to drive a truck will end in a few years

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released its proposed rules for entry-level driver training.  They will go into effect three years after public comments are considered and the regulations are finalized.  Upon passing a written test for a learner’s permit, a prospective heavy truck driver must attend a qualified training provider registered with FMCSA.  For a Class A CDL, the student must have a minimum of 30 hours behind the wheel with an instructor in the front seat with a minimum of (1) 10 hours on a driving “range” (an area free of obstructions and interference from other vehicles), and (2) 10 hours driving on public roads or 10 road trips that are 50 minutes or more.  There will be no minimum hours of required classroom instruction but the training provider must certify the student is proficient in driving a truck.  Before testing a student for a CDL, the state’s driver license office will check the FMCSA registry to verify the student’s training credentials.  Also, any driver seeking a hazmat endorsement to his CDL will be required to be certified first by an FMCSA training provider.

What training will new CDL drivers have to receive?

Two major insurers for trucking companies are leaving the industry.  Zurich Global Corporate recently confirmed its departure, while American International Group is widely rumored to be gone.  Fewer insurance companies in the trucking market generally signal increased rates for the future.  It also means more selectiveness by the remaining insurers as to whom they will offer their products.  Motor carriers must recognize in this market that a bad accident record or bad CSA performance make them less desirable to be insured.  Often it’s not DOT who shuts down a company. It’s their inability to be insured.

  In an effort to find the most dangerous truckers, FMCSA is tightening its definition of “high risk” motor carriers to prioritize for audits.  The proposed new standard will be any trucking company that has not been investigated in the last 18 months and for two consecutive months has had a 90 or higher CSA score in 2 or more of these Basics: Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, HOS Compliance, and Vehicle Maintenance.  The agency estimates that 2,800 motor carriers currently meet these criteria.


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