WASHINGTON, D.C. –The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed a set of comprehensive national prerequisite training standards for entry-level commercial truck and bus operators seeking to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
“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.”
Under the proposal, applicants seeking a “Class A” CDL – necessary for operating a combination tractor-trailer type vehicle weighing 26,001 lbs. or more – would be required to obtain a minimum of 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training from an instructional program that meets FMCSA standards, including a minimum of 10 hours of operating the vehicle on a practice driving range.
Applicants seeking a “Class B” CDL – necessary for operating a heavy straight truck (such as a dump truck or box truck) or a school bus, city transit bus, or motorcoach – would be required to obtain a minimum of 15 hours of behind-the-wheel training, including a minimum of seven hours of practice range training.
There is no proposed minimum number of hours that driver trainees must spend on the classroom portions of any of the individual curricula, said the release.
Under the proposal, military drivers, farmers, and firefighters would continue to remain generally exempt from the federal CDL requirements.