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Truck driver training subject of new federal rule

After a lengthy delay, new federal rules for truckers in training in Louisiana and across the country are becoming law. However, carriers, trainers and others will still have almost three years to put the new rules into practice. The new training requirements will apply to all truck drivers who receive their commercial driver's license on or after Feb. 7, 2017.

The new rules implement a series of requirements for trainee drivers and CDL applicants. They introduce and mandate the use of a core curriculum for the education of all CDL applicants. Further, they require that all trainee truck drivers receive some amount of behind-the-wheel training. Finally, this training must be received from a federally certified trainer on a registry.

The rule had been delayed for five months after the Trump administration imposed a regulatory review. The rule has wide support within the trucking industry. Various trucking industry partners were involved in the development of the training reforms. However, the lack of a mandated minimum period of behind-the-wheel training has been controversial. While applicants for a CDL will be required to train behind the wheel, including on-road time and course time, there is no specific number of hours required to fulfill this mandate. Instead, a proficiency standard upheld by the trainer is to be used.

Truck driver safety is of major public interest and concern. Like fatigued or negligent drivers, inexperienced drivers with insufficient or improper training can be a major threat to other drivers and passengers on the road. The size and weight of a semi truck or 18-wheeler means that personal injuries from truck accidents can be devastating and overwhelming. Attorneys can often provide assistance to victims of trucking accidents in securing compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering and other damages.

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