Safety & Compliance

FMCSA Proposes to Negotiate Driver Training Rule

August 19, 2014

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is taking another swing at a driver training rule, this time suggesting negotiations to resolve details that sidelined an earlier proposal.

At issue is the agency’s seven-year effort to come up with standards for entry-level driver training. A year ago the agency pulled its proposal because of disagreements over how it should work, even though there was general agreement with the concept.

Now the agency is proposing a negotiated rulemaking. It has hired a “convener,” Richard Parker of the University of Connecticut School of Law, to see if agreement is possible among carriers, driver groups, trainers, state agencies, safety advocates and insurance companies.

Parker will interview the interested parties and assess the possibility of agreement. The agency will use his report to determine whether or not to proceed with negotiations.

If the agency decides to go forward, it will invite representatives of these interests to collaborate on a draft of a proposed rule. If they can do that, the draft would be posted for public comment.

The negotiation will have to resolve differences over basic details such as whether training should be measured by hours or by performance.

Other issues are how driver training schools should be accredited, if there should be a graduated licensing program and how the behind-the-wheel portion of the training would be conducted.

In addition, the 2012 highway bill, MAP-21, requires the agency to establish a training regime that addresses safety performance and hazmat operations, and it must certify that applicants and trainers meet federal standards.

Comments on the negotiated rulemaking approach are due by September 18.


  1. 1. Matt Chase [ August 21, 2014 @ 09:19AM ]

    As a one time instructor for a private school accredited and certified to administer proper driver training, and everything else and beyond, the student has to know. Plus a 23 year driving career where I have been a trainer at various times, and I am one of those type of persons that can to analyze a person by talking with (them) Filling their minds with DOT rules and regulations, what the FMCSA current standards are regarding HOS, and training ones on HAZMAT procedures in driving and handling. I certainly am willing to admit that I do not have all the answers for an optimal solution in driver training. But I am convinced simply because the stench of the proverbial horse that we have been beating on is nothing but a carcass that has been left and already picked over and over by the vultures and other carrion scavengers. The blue ribbon panels, or special meetings where experts assemble and discuss problems then come up with solutions that best fit (who?). Drivers or Industry lobbyists? Who supplied the dinner and cocktails served afterwards?

  2. 2. Chris Bordeaux [ August 25, 2014 @ 12:39PM ]

    I agree with everything what Mr. Chase has said. I have been driving since 1977 and developed a full scale in house training program with assistance from various Insurance safety professionals to train new drivers. These students are then sent to State Certified Third Party Examiners for final testing. I would put the safety records of any of my 60+ students up against the students from Accredited Schools. This all comes down to the fact that all training needs to be based on performance. At least this "Convener" is looking to hear from us. I never received any response from my 7 page report on Entry Level Training that was sent in seven years ago to the NPRM.


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