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DOT Sets Minimum Training Requirements for Rookies

WASHINGTON, DC - The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the Department of Transportation recently published the final rule amending the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to establish minimum training requirements for entry-level commercial drivers.

The required training will serve as a minimum standard that entry-level drivers must meet before they may operate a truck or bus on public roads and is applicable to persons subject to the CDL requirements (49 CFR part 383) who operate in interstate commerce.

An "entry-level" driver is defined as one with less than 12 months experience operating a commercial motor vehicle that requires the operator to hold a CDL.

The rule addresses driver qualifications including rules on medical certification, medical examination procedures, driver hours of service, driver wellness, and whistle-blower protections.

Employers are required to provide the training, issue training certificates, and maintain evidence of training in the personnel or driver qualifications files during the driver's period of employment and for one year thereafter. The rule does not require a prescribed curriculum or number of training hours. The FMCSA estimates that it will take approximately 10 hours to complete the training.

The rule becomes effective Tuesday, July 20, and current drivers with less than 12 months of experience must receive the required training by October 18, 2004. Individuals who are to begin employment as commercial drivers after the effective date must receive the required training before operating a commercial motor vehicle.

The training elements include the following:
Driver qualification requirements: General driver qualifications, responsibilities, and disqualifications; medical certification rules; and, medical examination procedures.
Hours of service: Limitations on driving hours; off-duty periods; record of duty status; fatigue countermeasures.

Driver wellness: "Health maintenance" including diet and exercise; use of alcohol.
Whistleblower protection: Employee rights regarding safety practices of an employer and protections against reprisals.

The training certificates must contain the following information:
  • Date of issuance;
  • Name of training provider;
  • Mailing address of training provider;
  • Name of driver;
  • A statement that the driver has completed training in driver qualification requirements, hours of service, driver wellness, and whistle blower protection.

    The complete rule can be viewed at the following website: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rulesregs/fmcsr/final/04-11475EntryLevel.htm

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