OOIDA supports reducing redundancy, asks that savings go to driver training programs

October 2018

Mark Schremmer

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association submitted formal comments regarding FMCSA’s proposal to make it easier for drivers to upgrade a Class B commercial driver’s license to a Class A CDL.

While OOIDA agrees with the agency’s efforts to reduce redundancy in the certification process, the Association wants the proposal to eliminate a loophole that would allow some Class B drivers to upgrade without ever taking the courses included in the new entry-level driver training regulations.

FMCSA’s notice of proposed rulemaking, which published in the Federal Register in June, would reduce the training time and costs for Class B drivers to receive an upgrade.

Under the proposed rule, eight theory instructional units (Handling and Documenting Cargo, Environmental Compliance Issues, Post-Crash Procedures, External Communications, Whistleblower/Coercion, Trip Planning, Drugs/Alcohol, and Medical Requirements) would no longer be required for Class B CDL holders who are upgrading to a Class A CDL. However, the units would remain a requirement for an individual who is attempting to obtain a Class A CDL and does not already hold a Class B CDL. Beginning on Feb. 7, 2020, those training classes will already be required in order to obtain a Class B CDL.

Drivers who obtain a Class B CDL before Feb. 7, 2020, would be able to upgrade to a Class A without ever taking these courses if this becomes a rule.

“OOIDA favors the elimination of these duplicative requirements beginning on Feb. 7, 2020, and believes the cost savings from the rulemaking should be reinvested into entry-level driver training programs, specifically behind-the-wheel instruction,” OOIDA wrote in its comments submitted on Aug. 28.

“However, commercial drivers with a Class B CDL prior to Feb. 7, 2020, should not be exempt from the training requirements discussed in this rulemaking. FMCSA should not arbitrarily exempt drivers from critical training based on the timeframe in which they obtained their CDL.”

FMCSA estimates that driver-trainers would realize an annual cost-savings of $17.1 million, while motor carriers would receive an annual cost savings of $1.04 million. LL

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Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.