OOIDA pushing driver training, FMCSA reform for highway bill items

| April 03, 2014

driver trainingThe Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association announced this week the two main items it is pushing Congress to include in its next highway bill: Bolstering training for new drivers and reforming the federal trucking regulatory process. 

The current MAP-21 bill expires Sept. 30, and Congress must pass either an extension of that law or create a new bill to ensure highway and infrastructure funding. 

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Reforming employee-driver compensation by removing the FLSA overtime exemption was among top recommendations, likewise expanding truck-parking availability, sleep apnea, further New Entrant attention and more.

OOIDA has dubbed its two initiatives Truckers for Safety and Fixing FMCSA. With the former, OOIDA is proposing that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration produce certification requirements for driver trainers and that new drivers be trained by an instructor who meets those requirements. 

CDL candidates “will learn the basics of safe tractor-trailer operations, including how to operate the vehicle to maximize fuel efficiency, while also learning firsthand about compliance with the safety regulations, says information from OOIDA’s new truckersforsafety.com website dedicated to the issue. All of this would happen prior to a CDL test. 

OOIDA in its materials derides “CDL mills,” who they say simply train drivers to pass a test, rather than teaching “what [drivers] will need to know as a truck driver.” 

The association, in addition to pushing for inclusion in the highway bill, has also suggested an independent bill that could tackle the issue: The Safe, Mentored and Responsibly Trained Future Truck Drivers Act. 

More information will be posted on its FightingforTruckers.com site next week about its ideas for reforming FMCSA’s rulemaking processes, OOIDA says, but information on the site now says the next highway bill gives Congress the chance to “advance meaningful reforms to ensure that FMCSA conduct more outreach and greater evaluations to ensure they consider the full realities of trucking, especially from small carriers.”

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OOIDA also suggests that Congress require a new independent review process of the agency’s regulations to deem what works in reducing crashes and what doesn’t. 

FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee met in February to determine recommendations FMCSA should advance for the next highway bill. Chief among them were tougher standards for new carriers, parking improvements, attention to the issue of detention and other driver pay reforms. Click here to see OD coverage of the MCSAC recommendations. 

Click here to see some of the key highway funding proposals or ideas discussed so far.

Both Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate’s transportation committee, and Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chair of the House’s transportation committee, have said they expect highway reauthorization bills to be marked up in each chamber this month. 

  • shadow hauling

    one thing I don’t like about this bill is the .15 fuel tax increase. We as a group are taxed enough and as citizens are taxed enough. Let’s take that billion that was promised to Ukraine and all these other countries and rebuild our own country and infrastructure first. why should we keep paying other countries to be our friends when they don’t like is in the first place and like to burn our flag ? I say let them rot while we build up AMERICA to the great country it once was !

  • MillionsOfMiles

    Has anyone actually read OOIDA’s proposals? Really read them? They want to create a new class of CDL – a “long-haul” trucker CDL. Not class A-B, or C. Good luck with that. Want to be a trainer? They want you to get permission from a cop first. What a joke.

  • Thompson Pass Trucker

    As a CDL driver/trainer/evaluator who works for a CDL training school that is NOT a CDL-mill, I (and I know the company) strongly support (most) any initiative that causes better – particularly longer and/or more in-depth – driver training. I also recognize this almost has to be initiated at the highest levels. No company can compete by offering more-costly alternatives to people who want the cheapest, quickest deal they can find.

    To be sure, the following comments don’t speak to the written portions of the test. Most anyone can study a book and/or take a course to pass the written part of the requirements.

    It’s unfair to call any CDL training company a CDL mill as long as students: 1) only are required to meet the minimum standard of ‘passing a road test,’ and; 2) don’t have time-in-the-seat requirements set for them, and; 3) don’t have adequate oversight or auditing by a certifying agency (DOT or state DMV) or group (PTDI or similar). Certainly there are some that are truly CDL-mills and cut many things short or cheap. I’d refuse to work for them.

    It is possible for someone who has never sat in the seat of a Class 8 rig, but has enough experience both shifting and backing on the farm or similar, to pass a road test in a day or two – most evaluators have seem them. There is NOTHING that restricts this. Instructors/evaluators simply don’t have the authority to prevent someone who ‘passes’ the evaluation ride from getting their CDL; and surely, if it could be that arbitrarily decided, someone else would pitch the discrimination card of they weren’t passed. Did I infer that is right? No way. And there are a few ‘natural drivers’ out there who are truly gifted in
    their abilities. That’s not experience but that only comes with time.

    And we all know there are those who would/will find a way to get around most any rule or regulation – but they would do that regardless. The penalties should be unsurvivably harsh for the those who violate those rules. But that, too, takes oversight – someone has to find, report and prosecute them.

    Seeing published, mandatory standards for time-in-the-seat would make it tougher for those who are ‘in it for the heck of it’ think three times, and those who are sincere about wanting to drive really prove they wanted to. It’s a shame it would make it more expensive and, for some, possibly prohibitively so but safety on the road doesn’t come cheap. Neither does the cost of a crash.

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  • Zumba900

    I’m a certified, professionally trained and licensed driving instructor.
    You have put this very well.
    Nicely said.
    I gave up teaching for a number of reasons.
    The “mills” undercutting
    Almost all people believe themselves to be above average in driving skills.
    Not everyone can or should attempt to do this job.
    Sometimes they must be told that no amount of training will provide you with Aptitude.
    A proper and complete course of training is expensive to provide.
    People will opt for the cheaper faster place that also supplies numerous road tests.
    Trucking companies flat out refuse to use a graduated system of promoting drivers from the yard to local work to OTR.
    It is nothing short of madness to give someone a month or so of training and to then send them out OTR.
    I can’t, with a clear conscience, encourage anyone to pursue a trucking career in this manner.
    It’s a clear threat to their lives as well as the rest of the motoring public.
    They just don’t know, that they don’t know, as much as they think that they do.
    And, if there’s one thing that people do relentlessly behind the wheel…it is letting their self-confidence vastly exceed their skill-set in very short order.

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