Last week the FMCSA proposed national training standards for new commercial drivers seeking Class A and Class B CLD (commercial driver’s license). It is a great step towards better road safety, as a trained driver is a safer driver. Anthony Fox, the U.S. Transportation Secretary, says that the proposal plays a big role in making the roads safer by making sure that all the commercial drivers have had necessary training to safely operate a large commercial vehicle.
The drivers seeking a Class A CDL that allows driving large tractor-trailer combinations would have to get 30 hours of behind-the-wheel practice. It must be a part of instructional program that meets FMSCA requirements. Minimum 10 hours of this time must be dedicated to driving a commercial vehicle on a practice driving range. For those who seek a Class B CDL that allows driving a heavy straight truck, such as a box truck, the number of behind-the-wheel training hours would be 15 with minimum 7 hours of practice range driving.
FMSCA has not proposed the minimum for hours that drivers must spend in the classroom.
The Administration announced “The Year of Partnerships” and the standards for commercial drivers training will let them work closely with their partners in road safety, such as the safety advocacy community, state and local law enforcement and others. Their mutual goal is to safe more people by preventing auto collisions and doing everything to make American highways safer.
The proposal applies to following types of drivers: new commercial drivers who apply for CDL for the first time, commercial drivers who need to upgrade their license (for example, from Class B to Class A), and disqualified commercial drivers who seek to regain CDL. They would need to go through entry-level training and complete the instructional course. The training must be provided by an entity that meets FMSCA requirements and is listed on their Training Provider Registry. They must also cover the curriculum and electronically provide FMSCA with the training certificate for each commercial driver who completes the program.
Firefighters, military drivers and farmers would remain exempt from the CDL requirement.