What Are the New Truck Driver Training Requirements?

Training for Tractor-Trailer DriversShockingly, there is no federal requirement on what training new truck drivers must have before getting their commercial driver’s license (CDL). This is left to the individual states to regulate. However, on March 4, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) introduced a nationwide training standard for beginning truck and bus drivers. This rule was developed by a committee of FMCSA representatives and 25 industry stakeholders. Hopefully, once implemented, this training requirement will result in more experienced truck drivers on our roads and fewer passenger vehicle drivers and passengers being the victims of deadly truck accidents.

What Would the New Truck Driver Training Rules Require?

Under the current FMCSA rules, no training prior to obtaining a commercial driver’s license is required under federal regulations unless it is mandated in the state where the trucker lives and obtains his license. As for training and testing, the FMCSA rules require the following:

  • Obtain a copy of their state’s commercial driver’s license manual and decide what type of license to apply for
  • Pass any state written test
  • Apply for a commercial learner’s permit and possess it for 14 days before taking the skills test
  • Pass the skills test

Of course, there are other requirements, such as a check of the person’s driving record, which may be met before a CDL is issued. In addition, trucking companies are required to follow certain FMCSA rules before hiring a truck driver.

The new rules would not just apply to new CDL applicants. Current truckers with a CDL who want to upgrade their license or obtain an additional endorsement—such as one that is required to transport hazardous materials—would be required to follow them. In addition, a previously disqualified driver who wants to reacquire his license would be covered under the regulations. The following training would be required:

  • Applicants applying for a Class A CDL would be required to obtain 30 hours of driving experience from a training school that meets FMCSA standards, including at least 10 hours of driving the truck on a practice driving range. This would be required for truckers who want to drive a truck and trailer combination weighing 26,001 pounds or more.
  • Applicants who apply for a Class B CDL would be required to obtain 15 hours of driving experience, with seven hours being on a practice range. A Class B CDL allows a trucker to drive a dump truck, box truck, school bus, city bus, or motor coach.

Who Is Approved to Conduct FMCSA’s Training Requirements?

Approved trainers will be listed on the FMCSA Trainer Provider Registry. To qualify, a training facility must meet certain standards. They include the following:

  • The facility must offer and teach a training program that meets all of FMCSA’s standards for entry-level drivers.
  • The facility must meet the FMCSA requirements regarding course administration, teacher qualifications, assessments, issuances of training certificates, and training vehicles.
  • The facility must be able to supply documentation of their compliance with these requirements if audited or investigated by FMCSA.

The rules will take effect February 7, 2017 and will have a three-year period to be implemented. This is to give time for the industry to develop the required training classes and for states to develop procedures to list compliance with the training requirements on the truck driver’s records in their systems.

What Should You Do If an Inexperienced Trucker Causes Your Accident?

Until these rules are implemented, untrained and inexperienced truck drivers will continue to drive on our busy streets and highways and make negligent decisions. Even once these rules are followed, negligent and inexperienced truck drivers will continue to cause accidents. If you were hurt in one of these crashes, the trucker’s lack of training or inexperience could have been the cause of your crash. Fill out our online form or call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation to learn how you may be able to hold the truck driver and trucking company accountable.