New truckers not required to do any behind-the-wheel training

The injuries that result when cars and commercial trucks collide can prove serious and deadly, and motorists across Alabama and the U.S. may now face an even higher risk of such an accident. Per, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has enacted its Final Rule for Entry-Level Driver requirements, and many safety advocates are angered about the rule’s lack of mandatory behind-the-wheel training for new drivers.

Among the problems with the final rule, argue four groups opposed to it, is that its failure to set mandatory hours for behind-the-wheel training does not adequately prepare truck drivers for the types of real-world safety issues they will encounter. Opponents also called the lack of required hands-on training insulting to the entire profession, noting that barbers and cosmetologists, who work in arguably much safer industries, must meet mandatory, hands-on training-hour requirements.

Safety advocates also noted that at least five states have enacted their own hourly training requirements for CDL drivers, and that relying on test scores, rather than real-world experience, leaves new drivers with only elementary skillsets. Opponents to the final rule also noted that prominent CDL driver-education institutions generally require their students to have between 44 and 74 hours of behind-the-wheel operation before sending them off on their own.

According to, the final rule is set to take effect Feb. 6, 2017, and all CDL drivers and training centers must be in compliance with its tenets by February, 2020. Despite the rule’s lack of mandatory behind-the-wheel training hours, FMCSA believes the rule will enhance overall performance and safety within the industry while reducing vehicle maintenance costs, fuel consumption and emissions. 

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