OOIDA maintains opposition of driver training exemptions

August 23, 2022

Mark Schremmer


Another organization is asking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for an exemption from its entry-level driver training requirements. And to no surprise, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is, again, voicing its opposition.

On Monday, Aug. 22, OOIDA asked FMCSA to deny the National Ground Water Association’s request to exempt individuals operating Class B ground water well drilling rigs. OOIDA has filed several comments opposing exemptions from the driver training rules in recent months.

FMCSA’s entry-level driver training rule took effect in February. Since then, many organizations and companies have sought exemptions from various aspects of the rule. OOIDA, which advocated for the creation of an entry-level driver training mandate, believes the rule is crucial to highway safety and doesn’t want to see it undermined.

“The skills outlined in the Class B core curricula are inherent to highway safety and were implemented to ensure that new drivers have basic commercial motor vehicle operational skills and knowledge,” OOIDA wrote. “We believe this exemption could allow individuals who drive Class B water well drilling rigs to drive other types of Class B vehicles without sufficient knowledge of basic commercial motor vehicle maneuvers.”

FMCSA published a notice regarding the National Ground Water Association’s request on July 6 and opened it to public comment.

As part of its request, the group told FMCSA that the additional requirements “can be especially onerous” to their operations. Supply and labor shortages also were offered as justification for the exemption.

“We hope this request will be taken under consideration, and we look forward to continuing the conversation on how to better serve those who rely on private water wells,” the National Ground Water Association wrote in a letter signed by CEO Terry Morse and President Brian Snelten.

OOIDA noted that the National Ground Water Association filed comments during the negotiated rulemaking for the entry-level driver training rule and said it supported realistic and practical initiatives.

“We do not believe completely eliminating Class B training requirements for particular vehicles is a practical or realistic solution to improving highway safety,” OOIDA wrote.

OOIDA also recently opposed similar exemption requests from Railsback HazMat Safety Professionals, Alaska, SBL Driving Academy, UPS and Western Area Career and Technology Center. LL