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New training to be mandated for truck drivers

Some people are criticizing a new federal rule for truck driver training in Louisiana and throughout the U.S. because they say it doesn't go far enough in ensuring new drivers have sufficient behind-the-wheel time. The new federal rules went into effect as of June 5. However, there is a lengthy implementation period, as carriers and trainers will have until February 2017 to be in compliance.

The new federal trucking regulations were delayed by five months due to regulatory reviews imposed by the Trump administration. They will apply to all applicants for a commercial driver's license who receive their license on or after Feb. 7, 2020.

All CDL applicants and driver trainees will be required to be trained with a core curriculum. Furthermore, all trainees will be required to receive some behind-the-wheel training. While there is no mandated minimum hour requirement, there is a requirement for some level of course and on-road behind-the-wheel training time. This training time must be received from a trainer on a newly created federal registry. In order to join the registry, a trainer or carrier must be federally certified.The regulations are widely supported in the trucking industry. However, the lack of a minimum behind-the-wheel hour requirement has led to criticism. Instead, the new rules use a proficiency standard to be measured by the certified trainers.

Improperly trained drivers can pose a real threat to road safety. Truck crashes involving 18-wheelers can cause great harm to drivers and passengers on the road. If it can be determined that the accident was caused by a poorly-trained driver, an attorney representing an injured victim might name the trucking company as a defendant in a subsequent lawsuit.

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