The Department of Transportation on Aug. 29 sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget a final Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule imposing new training standards for new Class A and Class B commercial driver's license holders. Given that the plan was recommended by a negotiated rulemaking committee of FMCSA representatives and 25 stakeholders, the final rule is expected to closely match the notice of proposed rulemaking issued in March.
The NPRM proposed that applicants seeking a Class A CDL – required for operating a combination tractor-trailer weighing 26,001 lbs. or more – 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 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.
In addition to first-time CDL holders, meeting the minimum standards would be required for current license holders seeking an upgrade, such as moving from a Class B to Class A license or getting an additional endorsement – hazardous materials, tank truck, double or triple trailers or passenger. A previously disqualified CDL holder seeking to reacquire a license also would have to demonstrate training to the minimum standards.