Research Project

You are here

Investigation of Driver Training Curricula Effectiveness


To assess the effectiveness of commercial driver's license (CDL) entry level driver training (ELDT) in improving driver safety performance.


Earlier research indicated that entry-level CDL drivers were not receiving adequate training prior to obtaining a CDL. Further evidence of this is provided by the large number of motor carriers that have in-house training programs for newly-licensed CDL drivers (commonly known as "driver finishing" programs) operated by approximately 75 percent of carriers. These programs provide newly-licensed CDL drivers with additional training and/or supervised driving time to ensure a minimum operational skill level is met, even though the drivers already hold valid CDLs. In recent years, synthesis studies under the Transportation Research Board's Commercial Truck and Bus Synthesis Program examined the effectiveness of commercial vehicle driver training. However, none of these studies found a meaningful relationship between entry-level driver formal training and the safety performance of those drivers.


This study is designed to augment a review of the driver training effectiveness literature, with special emphasis on international studies. It will collect data from carrier fleets and commercial driver training programs to identify and evaluate the safety outcomes of various entry-level driver training regimes. The project will also seek out qualitative information on how several fleets have experienced potentially different driver safety results from different curricula to which the drivers were exposed.


This research supports the MAP-21-mandated entry-level driver rulemaking underway.


November 2012: Kick-off meeting and review of draft work plan.
December 2012: Finalize project work plan.
February 2013: List of persons on peer review group.
March 2013: Augmented literature review.
September 2013: Carriers selected to be in study.
November 2013: Carrier qualitative information.
January 2014: Insights from insurance provider.
June 2014: Analysis of CDL driver performance data.
July 2014: Submission and peer review of draft final report.
September 2014: Draft final report presentation.
October 2014: Final Section 508 compliant report.


FY 2011: $225,000 - FMCSA Research and Technology


Literature review completed and currently recruiting carriers and school systems to participate.


MaineWay Services

Updated: Tuesday, December 16, 2014