New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyer Discusses New Entry Level Driver Training Rule for Truckers

long haul semi truck driving on road
January 18, 2017
Legally Reviewed By Attorney Rand Spear, Esq.

Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a final rule that sets education and training requirements for new truck drivers.

The Entry-Level Driver Training Rule (ELDT) replaces a previous proposal that would have made it mandatory for new truck drivers to complete at least 30 hours of training behind the wheel before receiving their commercial driver’s license, reports New Jersey truck accident lawyer Rand Spear.

Instead, the new rule does away with minimum driving hours in favor of each individual driver being evaluated by his or her instructor. In sum, there are no mandatory training hours for new truck drivers. Rather, an entry-level truck driver is deemed competent and ready to drive whenever the instructor says so.

Obviously, one instructor’s idea of competence and readiness can vary widely from another’s — this lack of standard hours has caused concern among trucking safety experts.

No Minimum Hours for Classroom or Driving Instruction

The rule, which requires full compliance within the industry by February 7, 2020, applies to any individual seeking to obtain a commercial driver’s license for the first time.

This begs the question: If the ELDT rule doesn’t require specific behind-the-wheel training hours, what does it require?

The rule makes it mandatory for first-time commercial drivers to complete a driving knowledge program administered by an entity included on the FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry. New drivers are also required to complete training behind the wheel, but how many hours they must put in is based entirely on the person and the instructor.

It’s also worth pointing out that the new rule also fails to set a minimum hours requirement for classroom instruction for entry-level truck drivers.

No Retraining Requirements for Truckers Who Lose Their License

The new rule for semi-truck driver training also fails to implement any recertification or retraining requirements for truckers who lose their licenses or have them suspended.

Philadelphia truck accident lawyer Rand Spear explains, “Airline pilots and train conductors have training and education requirements that require a set number of hours of instruction. This makes sense, as these jobs require workers to operate machinery that is expensive, complicated, and can cause serious and deadly damage in an accident. Many safety advocates have called for the trucking industry to create more stringent standards for its drivers’ education and training, however, it remains to be seen whether carriers will do so in light of the new rule.”

If you have been injured in a semi-truck accident, one of the first things your lawyer is likely to investigate is the truck operator’s driving record and any history of accidents. When drivers are poorly trained, serious crashes can occur.

To discuss your truck or traffic accident case with a knowledgeable Philadelphia and New Jersey truck accident lawyer, call Rand Spear today at 888-373-4LAW.