A new rule setting nationwide minimum-training standards for entry-level commercial drivers that was to take effect in early February has been pushed back again by the Trump administration.
Instead of going into effect Feb 6 as it was originally scheduled to do, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) delayed the date to March 21, 2017. The notice published for that date, however, postpones the rule’s effective date another two months to May 22, 2017. The original compliance date of Feb. 7, 2020 has so far remained the same despite the delays.
The delays stem from a Jan. 20 executive order by Trump freezing all pending regulations that were put in place before he took office. The FMCSA’s new rule, named the Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Vehicle Operators, commands widespread support among industry groups and bipartisan legislators and appeared to have escaped Trump’s regulatory axe.
The further delay, however, introduces the prospect that the rule could be delayed yet again or even scrapped completely under Trump’s heavy anti-regulation stance.
Mandated by Congress as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), the rule sets a core curriculum for prospective drivers earning a commercial driver’s license, with more focus on proficiency in knowledge and real-life, behind-the-wheel training on a driving range and on a public road than on a preset, 30-hour minimum of behind-the-wheel training.
The rule also establishes a national registry of certified commercial trucking trainers, and anyone seeking a commercial drivers license (CDL) must be trained by one of the certified trainers.
The rule was part of a broader effort by Congress and the previous administration to facilitate driver training while enhancing highway safety. Commercial driving schools have fought against the rule’s elimination of the 30-hour minimum, a requirement that potentially could be reconsidered under the ongoing review.