Research Project

You are here

Investigation of Driver Training Curricula Effectiveness


To assess the effectiveness of different types and amounts of commercial driver’s license (CDL) entry-level driver training (ELDT) in improving driver safety performance.


Earlier research indicated that existing CDL ELDT was not adequate. About 75 percent of the fleets surveyed in the 2001 I-95 Corridor Coalition Coordinated Safety Management study required new drivers to complete finishing training with an experienced driver before driving solo. This widespread application of “driver finishing” programs provides an indication of the need for improved CDL ELDT. Finishing programs provide newly-licensed CDL drivers with additional training and/or supervised driving time beyond that needed to obtain the CDL to ensure a minimum operational skill level is met, after the drivers obtain their 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. The variance in safety performance in those reports was not sufficient to provide a meaningful relationship between the value of formal ELDT and the safety performance of those drivers.


This study is designed to augment a review of the driver training effectiveness literature. It will collect data from carrier fleets and commercial driver training programs to identify and evaluate the safety outcomes of various ELDT regimens. The project will also seek qualitative information on how several fleets have experienced potentially different driver safety results from different applied curricula. The project will examine the differences in safety performance of drivers in States with more CDL training requirements versus States with no training requirements.


This research supports the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) mandated entry-level driver rulemaking that is currently underway.


November 2012: Kick-off meeting and review of draft work plan
December 2012: Finalize project work plan
March 2013: Augmented literature review
November 2013: Carrier qualitative information
December 2014: Insights from insurance providers and results from training schools
May 2015: Analysis of CDL driver performance data
June 2015: Draft final report presentation


FY 2012: $375,000

Current Status

Literature review is completed. Guidance has been received from the Department of Education regarding release of trainee information. Analysis of Maryland CDL driver safety performance differences depending on amount and type of training.


MaineWay Services with TransAnalytics and University of Washington
Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2016
Submit Feedback >