Driver Training Regulations
April 25, 2016
Author: Jacob Zeal, Sales Executive
As a company owner, it’s important to know that you are handing the keys to a safe driver when they’re being put behind the wheel of your company assets. Truck transportation differs dramatically from almost every other form of business in the modern national economy. Its most essential employee, the driver, must work alone. In no other industry is a lone individual entrusted for such long periods, sometimes a week or more at a time, with so much valuable property belonging to others. In the rest of the transportation industry, group effort is standard; airliners, trains, barge tows and oceangoing ships are manned by crews rather than individuals. In commercial trucking it’s all in the driver’s hands and each driver plays an important part in highway safety.
Every fleet should have a clear driver training process in place for all new and current drivers. Proper driver training guidelines include training not only behind the wheel but also in a classroom setting. Before a driver gets behind the wheel, several topics should be reviewed. Topics discussed should include, but not be limited to, traffic laws, log books, federal safety regulations, registration and licensing laws, effects of driver fatigue, effects of alcohol and drugs, pre/post trip inspections, crash reporting and sharing the road. Behind the wheel training should consist of, but not be limited to, starting, stopping, turning, shifting, docking, use of hazard lighting systems, display of emergency equipment and hooking up/unhooking trailers.
In March of 2016 the FMCSA proposed a set of new training requirements for drivers applying for CDLs. The proposal states an applicant seeking a Class A CDL would be required to have a minimum of 30 hours behind the wheel training from an instructional program that meets FMCSA standards. This would also include 10 hours of operating a vehicle on a practice driving range. Currently there is no proposed minimum number of hours an applicant must spend on the classroom portion of the training. Current CDL holders seeking a license upgrade or previously disqualified CDL holders seeking to reacquire a license will be subject to the proposed entry-level driver training requirements. The U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was quoted saying, “Well-trained drivers are safer drivers, which leads to greater safety for our families and friends on our highways and roads.”
The FMCSA is making driver training a priority for 2016. Fleets across the country will benefit from readdressing their current driver training programs and implementing changes as necessary.
BA from Loras College in Dubuque, IA
Eight years of Insurance and Trucking Experience
Sales Executive in the Transportation Department