Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Federal rule aims to curb danger of improper trucker training

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Following a five-month delay, new federal regulations that will impact the training of new truckers in Virginia and nationwide are going into effect. The implementation of the training rule was delayed due to reviews of the regulation by the Trump administration.

Despite the new rule, carriers and trainers will have three years to implement it; the rule will apply to all applicants for commercial drivers' licenses (CDL) who receive their licenses on or after February 7, 2020. The rule attempts to address a problem of inexperienced truck drivers on the road by setting new standards for training.

The training standards include a new curriculum that all new CDL applicants and trainee drivers must study. In addition, behind-the-wheel training is now required. This training must be received from a trainer on a newly created federal registry. Trainers can be listed on the registry by meeting specific criteria and becoming federally certified.

While the new regulations do impose a requirement for behind-the-wheel training for new truck drivers, they do not set a minimum number of hours of this training that must be completed. Instead, a proficiency standard assessed by the trainers is applied. The original proposal for the rule would have required 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training with a combination of on-road and training course time.

Inexperienced drivers with improper training are a major concern for trucking safety. Along with fatigued drivers or reckless or negligent drivers, improperly trained truck drivers could cause major personal injuries to other drivers and passengers on the road. Trucking accidents can become multi-vehicle crashes causing significant damage.

People who have experienced an injury or disability caused by a trucking accident should consult with a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer may be able to assist accident victims in obtaining compensation for their medical bills and other damages caused by a trucking accident, especially in cases involving violations of safety regulations, improper training or other forms of trucking company negligence.

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