Driving an 80,000 pound big-rig truck is much different than driving a passenger motor vehicle. It requires additional driving skills and experience to be able to proficiently drive one of these massive vehicles. Unfortunately, truck driver inexperience and lack of training are often the cause of catastrophic injuries and deaths of the victims of these common truck crashes. On March 4, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed rules to require national training standards for entry-level truck drivers to hopefully reduce these preventable tragic wrecks.
What the New FMCSA Training Rules Would Require
FMCSA recently took a step to making these new regulations law by sending a final version to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget to sign off on the rules. Once the approval is received, FMCSA will publish them in the Federal Register. The rules will take effect three years after their publication. The new rules cover both Class A and Class B Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) and require the following:
- Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required for a trucker to drive a tractor-trailer vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds or more. New truckers would be required to complete at least 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training from a program that meets FMCSA’s standards. In addition, this training must include at least 10 hours of operating a truck on a training range.
- Class B CDL. A trucker driving a heavy straight truck—like a dump truck or box truck—is required to have a Class B CDL. These new drivers would need to take at least 15 hours of driving training, with at least 10 hours being in a driving training range.
There is no minimum number of hours that entry-level truckers must spend in classroom training. However, this portion of the training must include driving basics, including instruction in instruments and controls, pre- and post-trip inspections, hours-of-service regulations, and more.
Even once truckers and trucking companies are required to comply with these laws, truckers will continue to cause horrific wrecks due to their own and their employer’s negligent practices. If you were the victim of one of these crashes, start an online chat or call us at (817) 380-4888 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.