A Serious Debate
The Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee is comprised of 26 industry organizations, including the ATA. The committee was formed in order to help define the rules regarding truck driver training so that the federal standards can be established. Although 24 of the 26 organizations agree with minimum behind-the-wheel requirements, the ATA and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA) continue to oppose them.
The ATA argues that research does not prove a correlation between the number of training hours behind the wheel and a reduced number of accidents, and that drivers should be certified based on demonstrated skill. The AGCA argues that the time requirement will make it harder for drivers to obtain their commercial drivers license (CDL). As a result, it will further reduce the supply of available drivers.
The current proposal would require drivers to spend a minimum of 30 hours in training before they can receive their CDL. The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Commercial Vehicle Training Association are among those who support the minimum hour requirement, stating it is the best way to ensure that new drivers acquire the skills needed to safely operate commercial trucks.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, everyone can agree on training requirements so that the proposals can move forward and ultimately make the highways safer for everyone. There have been far too many trucking accidents that have led to debilitating injuries and fatalities – anything that can be done to reduce the number of accidents will obviously be welcomed.