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Truck Driver Training 450The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced the formation of a 26-member advisory committee that is tasked with updating classroom and new behind-the-wheel training requirements for professional truck and bus drivers, according to an agency press release.

The first meeting of the advisory committee is scheduled this week in Arlington, Va. and is open to the public.

“Over the next 30 years, we’re going to be relying on trucks – and truckers – to move more than 40 percent more freight than they currently do,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “With more people and freight crossing our country than ever before, this committee’s work will be critical to ensuring that commercial drivers are fully capable of operating their vehicles safely.”

In December, FMCSA reported that it intended to establish a committee to examine minimum training requirements, including length of classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel experience, accreditation versus certification of Commercial Driver’s License training programs and schools, curricula for passenger, property and hazardous materials carriers, instructor qualifications, as well as other areas.

The Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee comprises a diverse cross-section of motor carrier interests, including training organizations, the intercity bus and trucking industries, law enforcement, labor unions, and safety advocates.

The committee is tasked with negotiating the issues to be addressed in a proposed training rule, which the agency intends to issue by the fall of 2015, with a final rule expected in 2016.

“Ensuring roadway safety starts with the driver,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “Finalizing new training requirements for truck and bus operators is one of my top priorities and we have tapped a group of uniquely qualified stakeholders to help us work through the details and meet this goal.”

The MAP-21 transportation bill directed FMCSA to establish new minimum training requirements for individuals seeking to obtain an intrastate or interstate commercial driver’s license and become a professional truck or bus operator.

In August 2014, FMCSA announced that it had retained a neutral convener, and was exploring the possibility of proceeding with a negotiated rulemaking.

The convener interviewed stakeholders and recommended proceeding with a negotiated rulemaking.

For more information and updates on the Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee, visit http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/eldtac.

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