Prospective CDL holders in remote Alaska get entry-level-training relief

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022:

FMCSA grants training exemption to Alaska

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an exemption to the state of Alaska to allow the state to waive specified portions of the CDL skills test for drivers in 14 defined geographical areas that lack infrastructure to allow completion of the full skills test.

According to FMCSA, drivers who receive a restricted CDL under the provisions of the exemption are also exempt from the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations.

In its request, Alaska said the threshold for determining whether a driver is eligible for a restricted CDL “is outdated and excludes some remote communities that have unpaved, two-lane roads not connected to the National Highway System,” adding that those areas “do not have the infrastructure or driving scenarios to complete the portions of ELDT that require the driver-trainee to demonstrate proficiency in vehicle control maneuvers on the interstate or controlled access highway.”

The state asserted that without the exemption, drivers would have to fly to larger cities “and incur travel costs and lost wages” to complete the behind-the-wheel training requirements of the ELDT regs.

Instead of granting an exemption from the ELDT curriculum, as requested by Alaska, FMCSA instead granted an exemption from a specific section of regulations related to Alaskan drivers. The agency said if it granted the exemption that was requested, “affected drivers would be eligible to obtain an unrestricted CDL and operate in any location in the U.S., even though they did not receive the requisite training to safely operate a CMV when entering and exiting an interstate or controlled access highway designed for high-speed vehicular traffic, navigating curves at speed, changing lanes, and stopping the CMV in a controlled manner.”

Current regulations as written excluded many remote Alaska communities and required drivers to comply with the ELDT requirements.

Dates set for 2023 Ohio vintage truck show

The 11th-annual Ohio Vintage Truck Reunion, organizers note, is set for the weekend after Father's Day this coming year, June 24-25. Put on by various Ohio chapters of the American Truck Historical Society at the Ashland County Fairgrounds, the 9 a.m.-4 p.m. two-day event will feature hundreds of vintage trucks, a truck model contest and trucking memorabilia display, a parts swap meet, on-site camping, a "Country Convoy," and plenty of food, among a variety of other activities.

Ohio Vintage truck reunion posterDonations to show charities are appreciated from attendees and participants. Organizers note the 419-332-8352 phone number for more information. Follow this link to the website for a slide show from the 2022 event and more.

Driver recognized as Highway Angel for helping fellow truckers after crash

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has named Richard Schjoth, a truck driver from Shasta Lake City, California, a Highway Angel for rescuing two truckers whose rig crashed down a 75-foot embankment early in the morning. Schjoth drives for Cheema Freightlines, out of Pacific, Washington.

Richard SchjothRichard SchjothSchjoth was running north on I-5 near Los Banos, California, on Oct. 6 around 6:25 a.m., when he saw that a FedEx tractor-trailer had left the roadway, traveled down a steep, 75-foot embankment and rolled on its side. Schjoth pulled over on the shoulder, grabbed his flashlight and ran down the hill to render aid at the scene.

“I climbed the barbed wire fence and went out in the field where they were laying on their side,” Schjoth said. “I thought, ‘God please let them be alive.’”

He found the driver in the front of the cab and his co-driver in the sleeper area. The driver in the passenger area, who was operating the truck when it left the highway, reported pain in his ribs and a possible head injury. The second driver in the sleeper berth had a head injury.

Schjoth found a way to pull the windshield free from the truck and assisted the driver in the passenger area by pulling him up through the open windshield, freeing him from the truck, then to a safe area away from the scene. He went back to the truck and pulled the other driver out.

“I got 911 on the phone,” he said, “and I said, ‘I need two ambulances -- one with a head injury and one with possible broken ribs.’”

Back up at the highway, he used the strobe feature on his flashlight to try and get a truck or other vehicle to stop and help, but none did.

When he returned to the crash site, Schjoth noticed three horses got loose where the truck had gone through their fence, so he ended up herding the horses back into their pasture three times while on-scene, keeping them from escaping up onto the interstate.

When the California Highway Patrol officer arrived and Schjoth explained what he had done to help, the officer seemed surprised that he had done so much. 

“We lucked out that they were alive -- they lucked out,” Schjoth said. When asked why he went to the lengths he did to assist, he added, “That’s another truck driver down there. They’ve got families. I didn’t do anything special; I just did what needed to be done.”

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