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Proposed License Requirements for Truck Drivers

A new proposal from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration could change the training necessary to get a Commercial Driver's License. The proposal was released today and will be open for public commentary for the next 60 days. The FMCSA could then submit the rule to the Department of Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget for approval, or it could extend the comment period to gather further feedback. Once the OMB and DOT approve the final rule it will be published in the Federal Register. The measure would go into effect three years after the publication date.

The proposal contains a few key elements designed to ensure a minimum level of competency among new CDL truck drivers. The rule would establish a core curriculum, including a minimum of 30 hours of training behind the wheel, which a driver would need to complete to obtain a CDL. This minimum would apply to all drivers seeking a Class A CDL, as well as drivers who must take a CDL skills test to get their CDL. 

The rule would also change the qualifications necessary to provide truck driver training. The FMCSA wants to create a registry of approved trainers. Training programs would have to demonstrate the quality of their instructors, training equipment and testing requirements to be registered.

Training for entry level drivers has long been an area of concern. The FMCSA was asked to complete a rulemaking process for new driver training by Congress in 1993 and has failed to establish a working proposal ever since. A longstanding shortage of drivers has made industry leaders reluctant to increase the requirements for obtaining a CDL.

Sources: Overdrive, "FMCSA unveils driver training rule proposal, sets up core curriculum and more for pre-CDL drivers," by James Jaillet, 4 March 2016 

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