A recently published transportation regulation setting federal training requirements for entry-level truck drivers scheduled to take effect Feb. 7 has been delayed to satisfy an anti-regulation order issued by President Donald Trump.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the new rule, named Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Vehicle Operators, in December as a measure to improve road and highway safety and ultimately save lives. The compliance date of Feb. 22, 2020 did not change.
Under the rule, individuals seeking to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) would be required to demonstrate proficiency in knowledge and real-life, behind-the-wheel training on a driving range and on a public road, with training provided under an instructional program that meets FMCSA standards.
To the chagrin of commercial driving schools, the final rule does not include a minimum number of 30 hours behind the wheel, split between a driving range and on-road driving, which was required in the original rule.
Congress mandated the rulemaking as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). Advocates say that boosting commercial driver proficiency will also lead to reduced fuel consumption and emissions, vehicle maintenance cost reductions, and industry-wide performance improvements.
On Jan. 20, Trump ordered a freeze on pending regulations and the FMCSA had to push the rule’s effective date tentatively to March 21. The compliance deadline of Feb. 7, 2020, remained the same. On Feb. 7, 2017, it was announced that the new rule would proceed as planned, making it one of very few proposed safety regulations to survive the Trump Administration’s slash-and-burn approach to regulations.
The FMCSA is not opposed to including a minimum-hours-behind-the-wheel requirement into the rule in the future. Those involved with developing the rule say a minimum time-based requirement could be added if it demonstrated to be beneficial.