Entry-Level Driver-Training Rule Delayed Until March 21

WASHINGTON – A new rule establishing national driver-training standards for entry-level commercial bus and truck drivers has been delayed until March 21.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had scheduled the rule to take effect on Feb. 6, but delayed it to comply with President Donald Trump’s order to federal agencies to freeze new rules and to delay those published but not yet effective.

Trump’s order barred such rules from being enacted until 60 days following the issuance of a Jan. 20 memorandum, which will be March 21. FMCSA said the rule could be delayed even longer pending review by the administration.

The rule has a three-year implementation window and only applies to drivers receiving their commercial driver’s licenses on or after Feb. 7, 2020.

The entry-level driver-training rule sets a core classroom curriculum for those seeking a CDL. It also requires behind-the-wheel training, but does not require a minimum amount of such training. The rule also will establish a national registry of certified trainers.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Truck Safety Coalition and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways petitioned FMCSA requesting that it add a requirement for 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training to the rule.

That requirement had been included in earlier versions of the rule, but was removed before the final rule was approved.

The petitioners wrote that they are concerned the rule will “not ensure that CDL applicants who can pass the state CDL skills test will spend any time actually operating a CMV on public roads with an experienced instructor encountering safety critical situations.”

However, in one of his last official acts as FMCSA administrator, Scott Darling denied the petition.

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