OOIDA bands with safety groups in asking FMCSA for drive-time minimum in driver training rule

| January 04, 2017
FMCSA's driver training rule is scheduled to take effect in February of 2020.

FMCSA’s driver training rule is scheduled to take effect in February of 2020.

Four groups have joined in petitioning the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to halt the implementation of its entry-level driver training rule until the agency restores the requirement that driver trainees perform 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training prior to receiving their CDL.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and three self-described safety advocacy groups — The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Truck Safety Coalition and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways — filed the petition Dec. 21, two weeks to the day after FMCSA released its final entry-level driver training rule December 7.

The rule, which is scheduled to take effect in February 2020, sets a core classroom curriculum required for driver trainees and calls for FMCSA to establish a registry of driver trainers that CDL seekers must use for their training. The rule also requires behind-the-wheel training.

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However, in a departure from its March 2016-issued proposed driver training rule, the agency no longer set a minimum number of hours of behind-the-wheel training new truck drivers must perform. Instead, the agency set a proficiency standard, to be determined by each trainee’s trainer. FMCSA proposed a minimum of 30 hours behind-the-wheel training, split between course time and on-road time.

OOIDA and the other petitioners argue the removal of the 30-hour minimum disregards Congress’ intentions for the rule and the consensus established during rulemaking negotiations between FMCSA and industry stakeholders.

“The 2016 Final Rule is not in the public interest because it does not advance safety beyond current practice in which any and all untrained CDL applicants can perform basic minor movements of CMVs and obtain a CDL without being exposed to the real-world experience of driving a CMV on public roads while receiving instruction from a qualified instructor,” petitioners write.

OOIDA has long supported the establishment of an entry-level driver training rule, as have the other petitioning organizations. The American Trucking Association also supports the rule.

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30 hours split between classroom and windshield is not enough.  Back in the day, maybe. The old school guys like myself gave a damn and took pride in the profession, it became a career.

Today I see these new breed of drivers, driving an 80,000 lb rig like it's sports car and having no regard for public safety.  No manners, no professionalism and no pride! Yeah, let's have some more of that!  NOT!


Don't be fooled. Big mega trucking companies want this. If your forced to take a classroom then, all the drivers wanting a CDL will have to pay $4000, or sign up for slave labor at $0.35 cents per mile contract at a mega to get a CDL.

It's not about safety, because there doing Nothing to make the roads safer.


I grandfathered in under the CDL as well. We were old-school taught as well. Everyone started at our company in a straight truck doing local moves. If and when an opening occurred for our big trucks, we had to first practice driving around our building after hours, sometimes the owner would jump in. He would decide when you were ready for his road test. He did not allow the cab to lunge up or down when you shifted his truck. Keep in mind, this was a 76 Transtar with a sloppy linkage of course. He would set his coffee on the flat portion of the dash board against the windshield. Ribbon smooth were his exact words of what he expected and we had to drive a route of approximately 40 miles to pass his test.

Those were the days, when ads for trucking jobs ran seldom and you almost needed to know someone to get your foot in the door.

This training mandate just seems like a step into the direction of requiring driving school education eventually. Hope I am wrong. I am also not degrading anyone that may have gotten their CDL through a driving school as some people get it and are professionals.

My point is just that a formal school does not necessarily promote better training. Consistency maybe, but not necessarily better.


I came in when chauffeurs licenses where still out and driving for BFI. They brought in a 20yr vet retired State Trooper turn safety instructor to train us for a week in class for General Knowledge and Airbrakes. Before that we all were trained in stopping distance. Offset alleys and pre-trip and post-trip. Grandfathered us in to take the CDL test and passed the first time around. Maaan a lotta old school country boys lost their jobs behind that crap'n test. But we had real good training back then in 1989. Stepped up to class A in 1998 and started driving tri-axle dump trailer. On the job training too. The drivers gave a damn about green horns at that time as long as you listen to what they said. Once you turn pro and can back up a loaded trailer full of sand without getting stuck and holding up the o/o drivers, you can finally sit at the big boys table and eat lunch...lol. But you still had to shut your mouth when grown folks are talking! Man it was fun back then. Rookies now a days are so hard headed! Hell they need more than 30hrs if you ask me. Let alone splitting it between book learning! Geesh....what are these fools thinking 😮


@bigrphillips  [Grandfathered us in to take the CDL test and passed the first time around.]

I can relate exactly to your statement ^^^^. 

In fact, I have been told more than once over these many years that without a certificate from a truck driving school I could NOT be offered a position as a truck operator/ driver, and would then be asked how I was issued a CDL by whom was in the HR department. When I replied that I was "grandfathered" from Chauffer license to CDL in 1990, the person on the other end of the phone would usually be mystified and just didn't understand LOL

That exchange would tell me that the person I was speaking to hadn't been in trucking long enough to know about "grandfathering" and was inexperienced at what they were doing in the HR/ Safety department at whatever company they worked for.

Like any trade or craft, one learns by actually working at that trade or craft, becoming more experienced the longer they work at learning. 

[a lotta old school country boys lost their jobs behind that crap'n test.]

^^^ I also witnessed many safe drivers who were older forced off the road into retirement because they were poor readers and couldn't pass written skills tests required for the new CDL changeover, which to me was a travesty in a number of ways.

Cliff Downing
Cliff Downing

I am so glad that I got my licensing stuff out of the way a long, long time ago.  Never went to any driving school, simple on the job training and learning.  Well, almost 4 decades later and I have never put anyone in a ditch or went in the ditch myself.  And two moving violations in the same time frame.  Then OOIDA really amazes me.  First they will scream and holler about government regulations piling on, then in the next breath they are wanting government to pile more on.  What a bi-polar group.  One of the reasons I let my membership to OOIDA lapse years ago.  It was tough to raise children, I really don't want to deal with an organization full of them.


@Cliff Downing I am so glad that I got my licensing stuff out of the way a long, long time ago.  Never went to any driving school, simple on the job training and learning.

32 years for me, with no issues other than shady people and substandard pay, with several trucking companies that just never paid me. That in itself was a learning process, but I learned what type of companies to bypass when seeking a new position as a truck driver.

The CDL has been a sham, and the money I spend for an HME and TWIC in addition to CDL fees has been outrageous and of no actual benefit in the employment marketplace when I specifically do liquid & pneumatic tank Hazmat work.