The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) announced it will embark on a review of its skill, performance, curriculum and certification standards. PTDI was established in 1986 by the transportation industry as a certifying body
for commercial motor vehicle operator (CMV) education and training courses.
This initiative was part of the trucking industry's response to the issuance by the Federal Highway Administration of the "Model Curriculum for Training Tractor Trailer Drivers."
PTDI course certification insures that a minimum education and training standard is met in an effort to produce a CMV operator with documented and well-rounded knowledge and skills.
FMCSA is currently drafting a proposed rule that is expected to be published late in 2007. This rulemaking initiative will consider the effectiveness of CMV driver training in reducing crashes, and the appropriate types and levels of entry-level driver training that should be mandated. The proposed rule will consider requiring minimum time of behind-the-wheel training for persons who must hold a Commercial Drivers License to operate a CMV.
This proposed rulemaking has prompted the PTDI to once again review its standards. The PTDI board of directors has authorized the formation of a task force to make recommendations regarding course standards and certification processes in preparation for a pending federal mandatory CMV operator-training rule. The task force will also make recommendations to the board regarding a strategic plan to expand its ability to certify training courses under any new federal mandate. The task force is made up of both publicly and privately funded truck driver schools, insurance industry, carriers and other interested parties.
PTDI will present several recommendations to the FMCSA for consideration in the new rule. Although all of the recommendations are not yet formulated, the PTDI Board placed emphasis on the following:
· The PTDI Task Force will review current standards and determine if there should be a greater focus on "product" or driver skill attainment and performance outcomes as opposed to process or inputs. Potential recommendations of the task force could be a lesser emphasis on a paperwork intensive, totally hours-based process and a greater emphasis on a school's product - the performance of the student driver. Potential recommended changes to PTDI's current Skill, Performance, Curriculum and Certification standards will be submitted to the Board by the end of June 2007 for consideration and review.
· PTDI believes that independent certification of CMV training courses is the only way to assure consistent quality and thus to obtain the safety benefits sought by FMCSA in this prospective rulemaking. PTDI will be in a position to meet the certification needs of any new federal rule through a new strategic partnership with motor carrier safety specialists.
· PTDI will include a recommendation that newly graduated entry-level CMV operators be required to receive follow up training through a finishing program with their employer.
The PTDI board has authorized the development of a strategic partnership with Consolidated Safety Services (CSS) to conduct on-site visits at schools with CMV operator training courses seeking or maintaining course certification. Consolidated Safety Services is the only FMCSA contractor authorized to conduct motor carrier safety audits. CSS has 48 certified DOT inspectors who will be equipped to provide PTDI with expansion resources.