U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
Friday, August 15, 2003
Contact: Andy Beck, 202-366-8810
FMCSA Proposes Requirements For Entry-Level Driver Training
Continuing its efforts to enhance motor carrier safety, the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today proposed training requirements for entry-level truck and bus drivers who hold a commercial driver's license (CDL), except transit vehicle drivers. The proposed rule would affect truck and bus drivers with less than two years' experience operating CMVs.
"This proposal responds to Secretary Mineta's call for a renewed commitment to safety as our top priority," stated FMCSA Administrator Annette M. Sandberg. "These training requirements will reduce crashes caused by entry-level drivers of large trucks, school buses, and motor coaches."
FMCSA is proposing required training in the following four additional areas: driver qualifications, hours-of-service limitations, driver wellness, and whistle-blower protection. The agency believes driver knowledge of these areas is vital to large truck and bus safety.
Current CDL requirements address driver testing and licensing. Under these requirements, individuals seeking to become CMV drivers must prepare for CDL tests by studying such areas as vehicle inspection procedures, off-road vehicle maneuvers, and operating a CMV in traffic.
The federally required training would serve as a minimum standard that entry-level drivers must meet before they may operate a truck or bus on public roads. Although the proposal does not specify a required number of hours for the new training, the agency estimates that it will take approximately 10.5 hours for large truck and motor-coach drivers and 4.5 hours for school-bus drivers.
Under the proposal, employers would have 90 days to ensure that all currently employed entry-level drivers receive the required training. Evidence that a driver has received the training would be maintained in the driver's qualification file. Drivers with one to two years' experience operating a CMV with a CDL, who have a good driving record, could be grandfathered and not required to take the training. Employers would issue a Certificate of Grandfathering to those drivers whose experience and driving record qualify them to be grandfathered. This rulemaking is required under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991.
Written comments on this notice of proposed rulemaking should be sent by Oct. 14 to the USDOT Docket Facility, Attn: Docket No. FMCSA-97-2199, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20590-0001; fax (202) 493-2251. The rule will be published on Aug. 15 in the Federal Register. It also can be viewed on the Internet after searching at:
. Comments may be submitted at
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