Are Tougher Rules on the Way for Truck Driver Training?

Trucker Training

A recent lawsuit may change training requirements for those seeking to embark on a career in the trucking industry. Though auto fatalities have dropped in recent years, fatalities involving large trucks are on the rise, increasing by 4 percent in 2012. Injuries have also increased 18 percent, racking up an astounding 4,000 deaths and over 70,000 injuries.

Department of Transportation has yet to institute training requirements

Though ordered twice by Congress to develop training requirements for commercial truck drivers, the DOT has left drivers across the U.S. sharing the road with big-rig operators who have had only 10 hours of classroom training.

Procrastination results in federal lawsuit

Safety advocates and the Teamsters union recently sued the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, citing repeated delays since 1993 including some as recent as last year.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration maintains safety is a top priority

The agency claims to be engaging in a collaborative process aimed at improved training. History, however, shows otherwise. It took the administration a decade following a 1993 court order to come up with the current 10 hour training requirement. Federal courts ruled the standard inadequate as most national trucking companies already require more extensive training, and the recent 2013 deadline also appears to be being ignored.

How does national trucking company training compare to state tests?

Commercial truck drivers can obtain a nationwide license through their home state DMV following a 10 hour class, written exam, short practical driving test, and no on-the-road training. The testing process is similar to an everyday driver's license exam. National trucking company training, however, is typically more extensive. Most require several weeks of training, including classroom and on-the-road experience with a senior operator. Difficult to regard this training as overkill when you consider the implications of staying safe while driving an 80,000 truck.

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