U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
Monday, August 11, 2003
Contact: Andy Beck, 202-366-8810
FMCSA Proposes New Training Requirements For Longer Combination Vehicle Operators, Driver-Instructors
Continuing its efforts to improve the safety of large trucks, the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today proposed new training requirements for operators of longer combination vehicles (LCV) who wish to obtain an LCV Driver-Training Certificate. The safety agency also proposed new requirements for instructors who train LCV drivers.
"This proposal will enhance the safety of commercial vehicle operations and help ensure that drivers of large trucks have the knowledge and skills necessary to safely operate longer combination vehicles on our nation's highways," FMCSA Administrator Annette Sandberg said.
An LCV is any combination of a truck-tractor and two or more trailers or semi-trailers that have a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 80,000 pounds and operate in interstate commerce. Twin trailers, also known as western doubles, would not be subject to this proposed rule.
This is the first time that the USDOT is establishing minimum training requirements for LCV drivers. The proposed federal requirements would mean that motor carriers must not allow drivers to operate a double or triple until they have the training specified in today's rulemaking, even though they have a state-issued commercial driver's license (CDL) with a double/triple trailer endorsement.
Because LCV double trailers and LCV triple trailers have different operating characteristics, the FMCSA has proposed separate training courses for each vehicle group. Customized training in each class would address the unique operational and handling characteristics of the particular LCV group. The proposed curriculum for the LCV training would consist of orientation, operation, safe operating practices, advanced operation, and nondriving activities, such as route and trip planning and checking on cargo and weight.
The double or triple trailer endorsement requires a minimal knowledge of coupling and uncoupling procedures, or connecting and disconnecting, and vehicle inspections unique to these LCVs.
To qualify for training, the proposed rule would require that a student-driver must, for at least six months before training, have a valid CDL with a double or triple trailer endorsement. The double or triple trailer endorsement ensures that the driver has a basic knowledge of coupling and uncoupling and inspection procedures for these vehicles.
Additional training qualification requirements include no convictions or suspensions in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) or CDL disqualifying offenses and no at-fault accidents in a CMV. Those driving a double trailer would need evidence of Group A driving experience. Group A vehicles have a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds, including a trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more. Those driving a triple trailer would need evidence of Group A tractor-trailer or twin-trailer experience.
Motor carriers may waive driver-training requirements if a driver certifies that during the last two years he or she had a valid Class A CDL with a double or triple endorsement; no convictions or suspensions in a CMV for CDL-disqualifying offenses; no CMV at-fault accidents; and evidence of regular and continuing employment and operation of an LCV group. Motor carriers must ensure that drivers meet these conditions before granting the waiver.
To qualify as an LCV driver-instructor, the proposal requires that an individual have successfully completed an LCV driver-training course for the group of LCV he or she intends to teach; have a valid Class A CDL with applicable endorsements; and have at least two years' driving experience for the type of LCV instruction he or she intends to provide.
Instructor requirements may be waived if a candidate met the conditions for a driver waiver of training requirements, and during the last two years has had experience operating the LCV group he or she intends to teach, and has experience teaching courses similar in content to the LCV curriculum.
Under the proposal, motor-carrier employers must:
allow only drivers with a certificate of completion for LCV training or a certificate waiver to operate an LCV;
allow drivers to operate only LCVs that they are authorized to drive by the driver-training certificate, CDL, and endorsements;
maintain a copy of the LCV driver-training certificate for each LCV driver;
use instructors who meet the qualification requirements to provide LCV training;
and maintain an LCV instructor qualification file for every instructor employed or under contract.
Written comments on this notice of proposed rulemaking should be sent by Oct. 11, 2003, to the USDOT Docket Facility, Attn: Docket No. FMCSA-97-2176, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20590-0001; fax (202) 493-2251. The rule will be posted on the Internet and can be viewed after searching at
. Comments may be submitted at
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