Truckers Hope FMCSA Will Move Forward Quickly With Training Rule
Grain Valley, MO…
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.
Kelso, Wash.-based owner-operator David Binz says his 2011 Kenworth T660, equipped with a 15-liter, 550-hp Cummins ISX15 engine, 18-speed transmission and 72-inch AeroCab(R) sleeper, helps him and his wife, Patricia Hall, run a successful business called Hall-N-Binz Inc. And having a successful business makes it possible for him to spend the extra time needed to deliver pets across the United States and to Alaska, he added.
Izzy, a 6 ½-year-old brindle-colored Blue Healer mix dog, and Bear, a 4 1/2–year-old Pekinese, take a look out of the driver-side window of David Binz's Kenworth T660.
Bear, a 4 1/2–year-old Pekinese, traveled 4,500 miles for nine days across the western United States, British Columbia and the rugged wilderness of the Yukon Territories to be with his new family at their home in North Pole, Alaska. Bear didn’t have to make the trip alone huddled in a pet carrier at the back of an airplane. David Binz, a Kelso, Wash.-based owner-operator who drives for Alaska West Express in his blue Kenworth T660, picked him up in Oklahoma and delivered Bear to his new home in Alaska after picking up a load in Texas. This feel-good story on Binz’s trip to Alaska was featured in a national news segment about Operation Roger airing recently on NBC’s Nightly News.