As evidenced in recent polling of readers here at OverdriveOnline.com, pre-CDL driver training is quite often conducted by — who else — the professionals doing the business of hauling today. Three-quarters of readers reported having trained a driver, many outside of a formal school-type setting.
While the recent first meeting of the Entry Level Driver Training negotiated rulemaking committee touched on traditional informal (non-school-setting) types of training, it didn’t by and large make abundantly clear in discussion that statutory language written in the MAP-21 highway bill acknowledged reality in its inclusion of current trucking professionals in its examples of training providers. MAP-21, which directs FMCSA to establish training standards, specifically calls out “classroom and behind-the-wheel training” as what it’s after for pre-CDL training. Significantly, it also offers something of a definition of a qualified training provider to include not only “public or private driving schools” but also a “motor carrier or owner or operator” of a truck.
How such trainers might gain certification under the eventual rule, and how such certifications (and curricula) might be enforced, remains an open question. For more on the discussion surrounding a potential national registry of certified trainers, read the prior reporting from the first committee meeting.
Points of view on traditional approaches to training follow in conversations with owner-operator Cody Blankenship, ELDTAC committee member and owner-operator Bryan Spoon, and (principally) former operator/small fleet owner Richard Wilson of TCRG Consulting.