The Professional Truck Driver Institute has worked with more than 800 carrier representatives, driver training schools and the insurance industry to develop driver finishing standards.
Improved driver performance and retention, fewer costly equipment repairs and consistent training guidelines for instructors are among the benefits of conforming to the driver finishing standards, according to PTDI.
"Consistency is the key word," said Tim McLain, academy manager with M.S. Carriers. "It will cut out a lot of the frustration students currently have because the training program they receive through the carriers will be more consistent with what they learn in school. For the industry as a whole, it will allow us to have a much better quality entry-level driver."
"There is a multitude of trucking companies out there, and the training programs, as a whole, are just as diverse as you can imagine," said Joseph Fuller, director of driver personnel for U.S.Xpress Enterprises. "We'll feel more confident that we are getting a competent driver if they come from a program such as ours, and our program's effectiveness will increase as a result.
"This decision was made for public safety," Fuller added."It's up to us as responsible carriers to put as safe a driver as possible out there."
The plan is to get the finishing standards implemented by as many carriers as possible, said Mike McCombs, vice president of safety for Great West Casualty Co. "What we hope to accomplish is that once carriers gtet these standards, they'll know what is necessary to complete that driver's training. but this is only the first step. Once the standards come out, the plan is to get them implementesd with as many carriers as possible in the United States, Canada, and, eventually, Mexico."
PTDI plans to beging promoting the standards soon with an emphasis on getting as many carriers onboard as possible. "We hope the carriers will embrace these voluntary standards and apply them to their training programs," said Lana Batts, PTDI and Truckload Carriers Assn. president. "If we combine our efforts in implemeting these standards, we can realize tremendous benefits in terns of accountability, safety, and improved public perception of our industry."