In 1991, the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) was given specific instructions by Congress to develop both training requirements and general standards for novice truck drivers. Congress instructed the DOT to take on this significant task in the hopes that informed uniform standards would better ensure that entry-level commercial truck drivers could avoid preventable truck accidents throughout their careers.
The Need For Comprehensive Training Is Here
More than 20 years have passed since these instructions were given to the DOT by Congress. The DOT has yet to develop and release comprehensive entry-level training requirements and standards. It is critical that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) treats the lack of entry-level training standards as an urgent priority.
The trucking industry is generally concerned about these missing standards. This is a particularly interesting position for the industry to take given that it often pushes back against new federal safety regulations due to their expense and resource investment requirements. However, the trucking industry cannot enforce uniform and comprehensive training requirements on carriers that do not wish to embrace them. The trucking industry needs the DOT generally and the FMCSA specifically to initiate action and hold non-compliant carriers accountable for failure to uphold new standards.
Driver Training Is Now A Necessity
Congress and federal agencies have worked diligently to advance the cause of commercial driver safety in a variety of ways over the past few years. But if the FMCSA does not act to ensure that entry-level drivers are properly trained to begin with, many additional safety-minded actions will prove to be far less effective than they would if drivers were properly trained from day one.