FMCSA takes next step in entry-level driver training rule with ‘negotiated rulemaking’ plan

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Updated Dec 10, 2014

driver-training-2Facing several Congressional mandates and a lawsuit from industry advocates and safety groups, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has formed a plan to develop an entry-level driver training rule, which has been in the works on and off for more than 20 years.

The agency will formally announce this week a plan to form a “negotiated rulemaking” or “reg neg” committee made up of regulators, carriers, licensing agencies, training organizations, enforcement groups, labor unions, safety groups and others.

It’s also seeking nominations for the committee and hopes to have about 20 members. Committee members will serve a two-year term, FMCSA says. Nominations should be emailed to [email protected]. Click here to read more on what should be included in the nomination request.

This week’s announcement builds on the agency’s toe-dipping measure in August, in which it said it was considering a “reg neg” to produce the driver training rule, which is required by 2012’s MAP-21 highway funding law.

FMCSA scrapped last September a proposed entry-level driver training rule that had been in the works since 2007, citing “substantive issues” that it said made proceeding with the rule “inappropriate.”

The purpose of the negotiated rulemaking, FMCSA says in its notice, is to develop training standards for drivers, find the right balance of behind-the-wheel training and classroom instruction and gather data to determine the cost and benefits of training, among other goals.

FMCSA says it expects the committee to meet from February to June 2015 for one to two days every two to three weeks.

Public comment on the agency’s plan will be accepted for 30 days, starting Dec. 10. Visit and search the docket number FMCSA-2007-27748 to make a comment.

The Teamsters and two safety groups filed a lawsuit against FMCSA in September for not having an entry-level training rule in place, saying the agency was originally mandated in 1993 to produce the rule. Click here to read more on that suit.

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The agency said then it produced a rule in 2004 that it has been working to improve since.