Truckers hope FMCSA will move forward quickly with training rule
The nation’s largest association representing professional truckers, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, hopes that the agency that oversees motor carrier safety regulations will move quickly in implementing minimum training standards for new CDL holders since announcing plans to begin a new proposal process. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently withdrew its notice published in 2007 because of issues raised at the listening sessions earlier this year and new directives contained in MAP-21, the current highway funding law Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.
“While the withdrawal is somewhat emblematic of the agency’s past approach to driver training, untargeted and low on the priority list, we are hopeful that this is an opportunity for them to have a unique perspective and follow the path on driver training that our professional and experienced members have suggested,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “This basic highway safety step is long overdue, having initially been a Congressional directive in 1991.”
While the Association sees the withdrawal as a step back in the effort to enact mandatory entry-level driver training, OOIDA also sees an opportunity in advancing its Truckers for Safety agenda, which includes an in-depth driver training proposal for long-haul truckers.
“Many of the issues the agency raises in this notice withdrawing the previous driver training proposal are clearly lined out in our Truckers for Safety agenda,” Spencer said. “With commonsense measures like ensuring that new drivers are trained by experienced trainers, instead of today’s situation where the exact opposite is all too frequent, our proposal should serve as a good starting point for FMCSA. Experienced and safe truckers made it quite clear to FMCSA during the listening session last spring: Entry-level driver training should be a top safety priority of the agency.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the Greater Kansas City, Mo., area.