Training Standards for New Truck Drivers

FMCSA Proposes National Training Standards for Entry-Level Truck and Bus Drivers

March 4, 2016 – WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today proposed a set of comprehensive national prerequisite training standards for entry-level commercial truck and bus drivers. The proposal applies to all those seeking to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) reflects consensus recommendations of a negotiated rulemaking committee comprised of FMCSA representatives and 25 stakeholders and responds to a Congressional mandate imposed under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. Public comment is sought as the next phase of the rulemaking.

“Well-trained drivers are safer drivers, which leads to greater safety for our families and friends on our highways and roads,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “With the help of our partners, today’s proposal serves as a major step towards ensuring that commercial vehicle drivers receive the necessary training required to safely operate a large truck or motorcoach.”

Applicants seeking a “Class A” CDL must have a minimum of 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training from an approved program. Training must also include a minimum of 10 hours driving the vehicle on a practice driving range. All training programs must meet FMCSA standards. The Class A CDL applies to vehicles weighing 26,001 lbs. or more.

A “Class B” CDL needs a minimum of 15 hours of behind-the-wheel training. It also requires an extra seven hours minimum of practice range training. The Class B CDL applies to heavy straight trucks, school buses, city transit buses, and motor coaches.

There is no proposed minimum number of hours that driver trainees must spend on classroom instruction.

“A diverse group of commercial motor vehicle stakeholders completed a tremendous amount of work, and that effort resulted in an unprecedented consensus,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “We’ve designated 2016 as our ‘Year of Partnerships’ and these comprehensive entry-level driver training standards exemplify our commitment to working closely with our safety partners, including state and local law enforcement, the safety advocacy community, and all other stakeholders to reduce crashes and to save lives.”

Training Standards

Mandatory, comprehensive training in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories would apply to the following individuals under the proposal:

First-time CDL applicants;
Current CDL holders seeking a license upgrade (e.g., a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL) or an additional endorsement (necessary, e.g., to transport hazardous materials, operate a tank truck, school bus, or motorcoach, or pull double and/or triple trailers); and
A previously disqualified CDL holder seeking to reacquire a license.

These individuals would be subject to the proposed entry-level driver training requirements and must complete a course of instruction provided by an entity that:

Meets the minimum qualifications for training providers;
Covers the curriculum;
Is listed on FMCSA’s proposed Training Provider Registry; and
Submits electronically to FMCSA the training certificate for each individual who completes the training.

Under the proposal, military drivers, farmers, and firefighters would continue to remain generally exempt from the federal CDL requirements.

FMCSA’s Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC) met for six two-day negotiating sessions starting in February 2015 until reaching consensus in May 2015. The ELDTAC included FMCSA representatives and a cross-section of 25 representatives from motor carrier transportation, highway safety, driver training, state licensing, law enforcement, labor union, and insurance organizations.

For more information on entry-level driver training – click here.

California Truck Driver Imminent Hazard

FMCSA Declares California Truck Driver Imminent Hazard to Public Safety




February 19, 2016 – WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared commercially-licensed California truck driver Edward Herbert Crane to be an imminent hazard to public safety. Crane has been ordered not to operate any commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce. FMCSA served the federal order to Crane on February 9, 2016.

In May 2015, an FMCSA investigation revealed that Crane, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, was medically unqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. During the investigation, it was found that Crane had tested positive for the use of prohibited controlled substances, amphetamines or methamphetamines, on three separate occasions since 2012. Additionally, the results of a test that was still pending during the investigation received by the carrier on May 12, 2015, subsequently was positive for methamphetamines.

In June 2015, Crane was disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce by order of FMCSA.

Since his first positive controlled substances test in 2012, Crane has been evaluated by multiple substance abuse professionals; however, he failed to comply with the follow-up testing requirements and he failed to obtain a certificate of completion from any substance abuse program provider.

On January 8, 2016, Crane lost control of the commercial vehicle he was operating resulting in the vehicle leaving the highway, striking a concrete barrier and overturning as it was reentering the roadway. Crane was cited by local law enforcement officers for failing to maintain control of his vehicle.

Following the crash, Crane was instructed by his employer to undergo drug and alcohol testing and was provided with the address of a facility. Crane has failed to report to this facility and has refused to submit to a post-crash drug and alcohol test.

Violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order by a CDL holder may result in civil penalties of not less than $2,750 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than 180 days for a first offense. A second offense may result in civil penalties of not less than $5,500 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than two years.

Failure to comply with the provisions of the imminent hazard out-of-service order may also result in criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

– See more at: FMCSA Declares California Trucker Imminent Hazard to Public Safety



USDOT Registration Unified

FMCSA Launches Online Unified Registration System that Strengthens Safety and Improves Efficiency

USDOT Unified Registration System
USDOT Unified Registration System

December 17, 2015 – WASHINGTON – On Dec. 12, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched a new, simplified, online registration process that truck and bus companies, freight forwarders, brokers, intermodal equipment providers, and cargo tank manufacturing, inspection and repair facilities use as new applicants for USDOT registration.




The first phase of the Unified Registration System (URS) combines multiple “legacy” reporting forms into a single, online “smart form” that streamlines the registration and renewal process, improves efficiency, reduces errors and, most importantly, strengthens safety for the motoring public.

When fully implemented in 2016, Unified USDOT Registration will enable FMCSA to more readily identify unfit carriers and detect unsafe truck and bus companies seeking to evade Agency enforcement actions, including civil penalties, by attempting to regain USDOT registration by registering as a purported different, unrelated business entity.

FMCSA estimates URS will ultimately reduce costs to industry by approximately $9 million in time saved and fees incurred over a 10-year period.




For more information about URS visit: FMCSA/urs.

Electronic Logging Devices Required

Electronic Logging Devices to be Required Across Commercial Truck and Bus Industries

Electronic Logging Device Rand McNally ELD
Electronic Logging Device Rand McNally ELD

December 10, 2015 – WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced the adoption of a Final Rule that will improve roadway safety by employing technology to strengthen commercial truck and bus drivers’ compliance with hours-of-service regulations that prevent fatigue.




“Since 1938, complex, on-duty/off-duty logs for truck and bus drivers were made with pencil and paper, virtually impossible to verify,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This automated technology not only brings logging records into the modern age, it also allows roadside safety inspectors to unmask violations of federal law that put lives at risk.”

The Final Rule requiring the use of electronic logging devices (ELD) will result in an annual net benefit of more than $1 billion – largely by reducing the amount of required industry paperwork. It will also increase the efficiency of roadside law enforcement personnel in reviewing driver records. Strict protections are included that will protect commercial drivers from harassment.

On an annual average basis, the ELD Final Rule is estimated to save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries resulting from crashes involving large commercial motor vehicles.

“This is a win for all motorists on our nation’s roadways,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “Employing technology to ensure that commercial drivers comply with federal hours-of-service rules will prevent crashes and save lives.”

Electronic Logging Devices automatically record driving time. The ELD monitors engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven, and location information.

Federal safety regulations limit the number of hours commercial drivers can be on-duty and still drive, as well as the number of hours spent driving. These limitations are designed to prevent truck and bus drivers from becoming fatigued while driving, and require that drivers take a work break and have a sufficient off-duty rest period before returning to on-duty status.

Electronic Logging Devices – Final Rule Elements

  • Requiring commercial truck and bus drivers who currently use paper log books to maintain hours-of-service records to adopt ELDs within two years. It is anticipated that approximately three million drivers will be impacted.
  • Strictly prohibiting commercial driver harassment. The Final Rule provides both procedural and technical provisions designed to protect commercial truck and bus drivers from harassment resulting from information generated by ELDs. [A separate FMCSA rulemaking further safeguards commercial drivers from being coerced to violate federal safety regulations and provides the agency with the authority to take enforcement actions not only against motor carriers, but also against shippers, receivers, and transportation intermediaries.]
  • Setting technology specifications detailing performance and design requirements for ELDs so that manufacturers are able to produce compliant devices and systems – and purchasers are enabled to make informed decisions.
  • Establishing new hours-of-service supporting document (shipping documents, fuel purchase receipts, etc.) requirements that will result in additional paperwork reductions. In most cases, a motor carrier would not be required to retain supporting documents verifying on-duty driving time.
  • The ELD Final Rule permits the use of smart phones and other wireless devices as ELDs, so long as they satisfy technical specifications, are certified, and are listed on an FMCSA website. Canadian- and Mexican-domiciled drivers will also be required to use ELDs when operating on U.S. roadways.

Motor carriers who have previously installed compliant Automatic On-Board Recording Devices may continue to use the devices for an additional two years beyond the compliance date. Eventually, all carriers must install and use Electronic Logging Devices on all commercial vehicles.

A copy of the ELD Final Rule announced today is available at: ELD Final Rule.




Further information, including a comprehensive, searchable list of frequently asked questions, and a calendar of upcoming free training webinars, is available https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/elds.

Image source: Rand McNally, hd-100

Safety Belts Required for Truck Passengers

FMCSA Proposed Rule Would Close Safety Gap On All Large Commercial Trucks – Safety Belts Required For Passengers




December 9, 2015 – WASHINGTON – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced it is seeking public comment on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) making safety belts required for all passengers riding in property-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

Federal rules have long required all commercial drivers to use safety belts (49 CFR 392.16); this proposed rule would hold both trucking companies and commercial truck drivers responsible for ensuring that any passenger riding in the truck cab are also buckled up.

Approximately 275 occupants of large trucks killed in crashes in 2013 were not wearing their safety belts, according to the most recently available data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For a copy of today’s Federal Register announcement, see: Federal Register.



Drivers Protected From Forced Safety Violations

FMCSA Final Rule, children boarding school bus by flickr user woodlywonderworks

FMCSA Final Rule Prohibits Coercion, Protects Commercial Truck and Bus Drivers From Being Forced to Violate Safety Regulations



FMCSA Final Rule Announcement

November 27, 2015 – WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced the publication in the Federal Register of a Final Rule to help further safeguard commercial truck and bus drivers from being compelled to violate federal safety regulations. The Rule provides FMCSA with the authority to take enforcement action not only against motor carriers, but also against shippers, receivers, and transportation intermediaries. The rule was first proposed in May of 2014. It becomes effective on January 29, 2016.

“Our nation relies on millions of commercial vehicle drivers to move people and freight, and we must do everything we can to ensure that they are able to operate safely,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This Rule enables us to take enforcement action against anyone in the transportation chain who knowingly and recklessly jeopardizes the safety of the driver and of the motoring public.”

The Final Rule addresses three key areas concerning driver coercion: procedures for commercial truck and bus drivers to report incidents of coercion to the FMCSA, steps the agency could take when responding to such allegations, and penalties that may be imposed on entities found to have coerced drivers.

“Any time a motor carrier, shipper, receiver, freight-forwarder, or broker demands that a schedule be met, one that the driver says would be impossible without violating hours-of-service restrictions or other safety regulations, that is coercion,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “No commercial driver should ever feel compelled to bypass important federal safety regulations and potentially endanger the lives of all travelers on the road.”

In formulating this Rule, the agency heard from commercial drivers who reported being pressured to violate federal safety regulations with implicit or explicit threats of job termination, denial of subsequent trips or loads, reduced pay, forfeiture of favorable work hours or transportation jobs, or other direct retaliations.




Some of the FMCSA regulations drivers reported being coerced into violating included: hours-of-service limitations designed to prevent fatigued driving, commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements, drug and alcohol testing, the transportation of hazardous materials, and commercial regulations applicable to, among others, interstate household goods movers and passenger carriers.

Commercial truck and bus drivers have had whistle-blower protection through the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) since 1982, when the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) was adopted. The STAA and OSHA regulations protect drivers and other individuals working for commercial motor carriers from retaliation for reporting or engaging in activities related to certain commercial motor vehicle safety, health, or security conditions. STAA provides whistleblower protection for drivers who report coercion complaints under this Final Rule and are then retaliated against by their employer.

In June 2014, FMCSA and OSHA signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the coordination and cooperation between the agencies regarding the anti-retaliation provision of the STAA. The Memorandum allows for the exchange of safety, coercion, and retaliation allegations, when received by one agency, that fall under the authority of the other.

For more information on what constitutes coercion and how to submit a complaint to FMCSA, see: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/coercion. Please note: the Final Rule takes effect 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register.

This rulemaking was authorized by Section 32911 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 (MCSA), as amended.

For a copy of today’s Federal Register announcement, see: www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/11/30/2015-30237/prohibiting-coercion-of-commercial-motor-vehicle-drivers.

FMCSA Final Rule, DOT And OSHA

The public, commercial drivers, motor carriers, and other industry members may file a safety, service, or discrimination complaint against a household goods moving company, bus, or truck company, including hazardous materials hauler or a cargo tank facility, by calling toll free 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, Eastern Time. Complaints may also be submitted through FMCSA’s National Consumer Complaint website at: https://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov.

FMCSA was established as a separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000, pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. Its primary mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. For more information on FMCSA’s safety programs and activities, visit: FMCSA.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace, commercial motor vehicle, airline, nuclear, pipeline, environmental, railroad, public transportation, maritime, consumer product, motor vehicle safety, health care reform, corporate securities, food safety, and consumer financial reform regulations. Additional information is available at: Whistle Blowers.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit: https://www.osha.gov.

– See more at: Final Rule Prohibits Coercion, Protects Commercial Truck and Bus Drivers From Being Forced to Violate Safety Regulations

Ohio Garfield Trucking Shut Down

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
FMCSA Orders Shutdown Ohio Trucking Company




November 19, 2015 – WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Jefferson, Ohio-based trucking company Garfield Trucking, LLC, USDOT No. 1882948, to be an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered that it immediately cease all intrastate and interstate operations.

On October 4, 2015, a commercial vehicle operated by Garfield Trucking was stopped for an unannounced roadside safety inspection in Missouri. A total of 43 safety violations were recorded during the inspection, including 13 out-of-service violations such as multiple instances of improperly adjusted or inoperable brakes, defective brake components, cracked frame rails, load securement violations, and falsified hours-of-service log books.

It was further discovered that Garfield Trucking had been operating in violation of two separate out-of-service orders, one of which dated back to October 2014.

On October 13, 2015, FMCSA safety investigators visited Garfield Trucking to conduct an unscheduled compliance review. The investigators observed an “out-of-business” announcement on the premises. The investigators left and also sent by express mail copies of a demand for access letter and an administrative subpoena for company documents. Garfield Trucking has yet to provide FMCSA safety investigators with access to the subpoenaed documents.

Garfield Trucking shut down due to denial of access. Garfield Trucking has been unwilling to produce proof to FMCSA that the company has a safety program. Garfield Trucking’s refusal to allow FMCSA access, its continued operation despite two out-of-service orders, its continued use of unsafe vehicles, and its failure to comply with hours-of-service regulations designed to prevent fatigued driving substantially increase the likelihood of serious harm to drivers, passengers, and the motoring public.

Violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order and operating without operating authority and a USDOT number may result in civil penalties up to $60,000 as well as a criminal penalty, including a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment not to exceed one year.




A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order can be viewed at Garfield Trucking IHOOS.

– See more at: FMCSA Orders Shutdown Ohio Trucking Company – Garfield Trucking

Minnesota Truck Driver Imminent Hazard

FMCSA Declares Minnesota Truck Driver Imminent Hazard to Public Safety




November 13, 2015 – WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Minnesota-licensed truck driver John Ray Carpenter to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate or intrastate commerce.

An FMCSA investigation revealed that Carpenter, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, is medically unqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Carpenter, both a driver and the Chief Executive Officer of Hibbing, Minnesota-based Carpenter Brothers Services, Inc., which does business as Portable John, USDOT No. 736285, was served the federal order on Nov. 6, 2015.

On Oct. 22, 2015, while driving a company truck in Crystal Bay Township, Minn., Carpenter suffered a medical problem, which caused his vehicle to cross into oncoming traffic, collide into a passenger vehicle, and fatally injure the driver.

Following the crash, Carpenter revealed to federal and state investigators that he had experienced approximately six previous episodes involving medical problems while driving, some of which also resulted in crashes.

In the past four months, investigators also found multiple violations by Carpenter of federal hours-of-service regulations, which are designed to prevent fatigued driving. On the day prior to the fatal crash in October, investigators found evidence that Carpenter had falsified his records of duty status.

Violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order by a CDL holder may result in civil penalties of up to $2,500 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than 180 days for a first offense. A second offense may result in civil penalties of up to $5,000 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than two years. Failure to comply with the provisions of the imminent hazard out-of-service order may also result in criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

– See more at: FMCSA Declares Minnesota Truck Driver Imminent Hazard to Public Safety



Georgia Truck Driver Imminent Hazard

FMCSA Declares Georgia Truck Driver Imminent Hazard to Public Safety




October 30, 2015 – WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Georgia-licensed truck driver Matthew Jason Boozer to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

An FMCSA investigation revealed that Boozer is medically unqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce and that he had falsified the medical history section of a recent truck driving job application to conceal a disqualifying medical diagnosis.

On July 6, 2015, while driving a commercial vehicle on Georgia State Route 11, Boozer suffered a medical problem, resulting in his truck crossing both lanes of traffic and crashing through a fence before colliding into a parked vehicle.

Following the crash, Boozer was sent by his employer to a physician who declared him to be medically unqualified; Boozer was subsequently terminated from his employment as a truck driver.

On July 7, 2015, Boozer, in a truck driving job application submitted to a different employer, falsified the medical history section to conceal the medical disqualification issued the previous day, which referenced a 2011 disqualifying medical diagnosis.

Boozer was subsequently hired on the basis of his fraudulent job application and drove trucks for his new employer through September 17, 2015, when his employer became aware of his July 6, 2015 crash and his disqualifying medical condition.

Violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order by a CDL holder may result in civil penalties of up to $2,500 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than 180 days for a first offense. A second offense may result in civil penalties of up to $5,000 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than two years. Failure to comply with the provisions of the imminent hazard out-of-service order may also result in criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

– See more at: FMCSA Declares Georgia Truck Driver Imminent Hazard to Public Safety



Texting Ban For Truck Drivers

Truck Drivers No Texting

U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced federal guidance to expressly prohibit texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses. The prohibition is effective immediately and is the latest in a series of actions taken by the Department to combat distracted driving since the Secretary convened a national summit on the issue last September.




“We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” said Secretary LaHood. “This is an important safety step and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.”

The action is the result of the Department’s interpretation of standing rules. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.

“Our regulations will help prevent unsafe activity within the cab,” said Anne Ferro, Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). “We want to make it crystal clear to operators and their employers that texting while driving is the type of unsafe activity that these regulations are intended to prohibit.”

FMCSA research shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting. At 55 miles per hour, this means that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road. Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers. Because of the safety risks associated with the use of electronic devices while driving, FMCSA is also working on additional regulatory measures that will be announced in the coming months.

During the September 2009 Distracted Driving Summit, the Secretary announced the Department’s plan to pursue this regulatory action, as well as rulemakings to reduce the risks posed by distracted driving. President Obama also signed an Executive Order directing federal employees not to engage in text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles or with government-owned equipment. Federal employees were required to comply with the ban starting on December 30, 2009.

The regulatory guidance on today’s announcement will be on public display in the Federal Register January 26 and will appear in print in the Federal Register on January 27.

The public can follow the progress of the U.S. Department of Transportation in working to combat distracted driving www.distraction.gov.