The symposium dealt with the idea commercial driver performance is the responsibility of everyone involved in the motor carrier industry – a first of its kind, according to Anita Orsino with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, one of the sponsors of the event. Other sponsors were the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and the Federal Highway Administration.
There were panel discussions and debates on various issues of importance to the commercial driver, such as fatigue, technology, drug and alcohol testing, entry-level driver skills and regulation enforcement. A panel of professional drivers shared their perspectives.
Ray Gompf, a former driver who attended the symposium, noted that the session on “Improving Entry-Level Driver Skills” was one that dealt with a “meaty issue”:
“Lana Batts, representing the Professional Truck Driver Institute of America, spoke passionately about the need for better standards and better teaching methods. [She was] very opposed to the ‘CDL mills’ and extremely opposed to ‘peer training.’”
The last session, which was the driver panel, “was the liveliest and probably the best session,” Gompf said, “but was not heard by many of the attendees who left early.”
The DMV is considering sponsoring another commercial driver conference in the future.