FMCSA scraps old training proposal, embarks on new rulemaking

| September 20, 2013
“It boggles the mind that a guy with six months’ experience is already a trainer.” –veteran driver Lee Strebel

“It boggles the mind that a guy with six months’ experience is already a trainer.” –veteran driver Lee Strebel, reflecting a viewpoint voiced repeatedly during the March 2013 listening sessions on entry level driver training.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has withdrawn its 2007 entry-level driver training rulemaking to promulgate a revamped proposal incorporating more recent feedback on what’s needed, much of it garnered via listening sessions, one of which we covered directly at the Mid-America Trucking Show this past year. In its Sept. 19 announcement of the withdrawal, the agency noted the 2012 MAP-21 highway reauthorization included language on setting these standards. “… A new rulemaking would provide the most effective starting point for implementing” the new regulations, the FMCSA wrote. The 2012 law also mandates the FMCSA issue a Final Rule by Oct.1., and stipulates training address knowledge and skills for operation, specific requirements for hazmat endorsements and a uniform federal standard be set for training.

“While the withdrawal is somewhat emblematic of the agency’s past approach to driver training, untargeted and low on the priority list, we are hopeful that this is an opportunity for them to have a unique perspective and follow the path on driver training that our professional and experienced members have suggested,” said Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “This basic highway safety step is long overdue, having initially been a Congressional directive in 1991.” 

The Association sees the withdrawal as a step back in the effort to enact mandatory entry-level driver training, but it also sees an opportunity in advancing its “Truckers for Safety” agenda, which includes an in-depth driver training proposal for long-haul truckers.

The agency said it had considered comments submitted on the original 2007 NPRM, feedback received during the public listening sessions last spring and the FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee June report — find discussion notes from MCSAC’s December 2012 discussion on the subject via this link.

To read more about the agency’s current research projects on driver training and background on the entry-level rule, see this story on Overdrive sister site CCJ

Read more on the issue of driver training here at Overdrive from past coverage. 

  • g

    Actually what criminals at Shippers want is Cheap mexican labor to haul freight. This is common knowledge. Why all this B.S. about “training” and “qualifications”…they prefer if the trucker is a lowlife immigrunt..and willing to work CHEAP.
    Who do these jerks think we are 5 year olds?? This B.S. and likes…are window dressing to mask Criminal Activities…every truck stop is filled with illegal alien “truckers” and Gang member truck drivers…it is way out of control…arrests are made each day of “truckers” hauling Narcotics…..the industry is off the chain. These windowdressing “programs” are a silly Charade.

  • g

    Calif has LEGALIZED driver license for illegal Aliens..this tells us we might have a few illegal aliens hauling FREIGHT in our well as DOPE?? Alot of these illegal alien “truckers” are gang members also…they are not really CONTENT with meager wages and honest work….this industry is becoming FLOODED with Criminal “truckers” unable to speak or understand English and wo dont give a Damn about AMERICA or our Citizens….Cops and D.O.T. do do not do a DAMN THING to stop this FLOW of Criminals into the trucking industry…these stupid little “programs” put them into position to Wave Thru the big shipment of DOPE actually…just like ICE and BORDER PATROL are convicted of HELPING the mexicans invade our country.

  • Sed

    As they should! Now they should scrap FM CSA

  • Double D

    In an effort to solve driver shortage here in my local area, a couple companies have been bringing in workers from the Ukraine. These workers have no previous driving experience. The company I’m told sends them to a short training course and puts then puts them behind a wheel. Native drivers from these companies are telling me that they are actually paid higher wages that the rest of the employees since the fed govt is subsidizing the employment for this practice.

  • g

    Yes they petition our Gov for H2B Visas..and Sponser these foreigners to come take a job from an American. Illinois is filled with this activity. Any illegal alien is issued a Drivers License. So obviously these INVITED kooks are Welcome to a license. CALIF just signed the same thing into LAW. The Mega Fleets all MOOCH a subsidy for “training” dummies..and then fire them or make them quit to make room for a new batch…Hense the 300% annual trunover at many Mega Dumps. The entire industry is a RACKET..with COPS first in line..chasing truckers down the road and forcing them to Open Our Wallets for some dumb infraction..while illegal aliens go speeding by with a trailer full of DOPE!!!

  • Pat Huffman

    What really troubles me besides the lack of experience these guys get before these big companies, the main culprits putting inexperienced drivers on the road, is the absolute crap attitude so many drivers in this industry have.

    I have been driving for over 35 years, going on 36 and I trained for over a year with a seasoned vet before I was let out on my own.

    Everyday is still a learning experience.

    I see a general bad attitude out here on the road, and it is expressed right here in some of the comments I read.

    I have ran into foreign drivers out here at shippers and receivers and once I was willing to try and break the communication barrier, I find out that these guys are just trying to make a living and assimilate to a new culture and environment and they are generally met with hostility and anger.

    And they are doing it LEGALLY!!!!

    Enough of the stupid soundbites and uninformed comments!!!

    You make yourself look stupid (natural look for some) but none the less stupid!

    I run Canada and the lower 48 and I hear the same BS now as I did when Canadian Carriers started running heavier in the states.

    Doing it cheaper, taking our jobs on and on.

    What BS!!!

    They are bring things in and out of the US that US Carriers are not allowed to carry or because the lack of qualified drivers and companies who can cross into Canada because for various reasons cannot cross the border.

    A lot of these people don’t like crossing either border, but they do it because their job requires it.

    They don’t like the hostility and stupidity they encounter.

    Back to the topic, this is about training and end entry level requirements.

    The FMCSA need to tackle this problem where it starts, the larger companies operating these driving schools!

    Until the Department of Labor changes our industry to Skilled Labor from Unskilled Labor, there is little chance that we will see the Graduated Apprenticeship Training Programs we so desperately need.

  • guest

    What Training? Jose show his cousin Juan how to “drive” in Tijuana…they go to The Mexican Motor Vehicles Dept..where his SEESTER Rosita works and they “procure” his mexican Trucker license…..NOW he is able to drive Truck in America…no questions asked! He is NOT a citizen but is welcome to haul OUR freight at Cut Rate prices…
    No NEED for any “schooling”or Special Licensing….that is for Chumps and they will tell Americans that AND laugh in your Face.

  • Robert Braun

    It’s about time somebody stepped up to the plate and told it like it is. The other bigger problem is that the immigrants are willing to actually work for a living, ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER.
    Thanks for that Pat. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.