Spencer: Delaying driver training rules will only delay safety benefits

August 20, 2019

Greg Grisolano

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says it doesn’t want any further delays in implementing federal entry-level driver training rules.

The Association on Monday filed comments in response to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposal to delay the compliance dates for two provisions in the rules. The extension would push the compliance date on those aspects of the rule back by two years, from Feb. 7, 2020 to Feb. 7, 2022.

Last month, FMCSA announced it planned to push back the dates for training providers to upload certification information into the Training Provider Registry and for state driver licensing agencies to receive driver-specific entry-level driver training information. The agency published notice of the move in the Federal Register and sought public comment.

The FMCSA says it needs the additional time to develop an electronic interface for entering and storing the information. Spencer said the three-year phase-in period originally included in the rules should have been sufficient and he hopes the agency will not propose any further extensions.

OOIDA president and CEO Todd Spencer said in the comments that delaying these provisions “will only delay the expected safety benefits of the final rule from being realized.”

For decades, OOIDA has lobbied for the creation of a minimum national standard for entry-level driver training, arguing that improving training would promote highway safety.

“While the ELDT rulemaking that will go into effect next year is far from sufficient, the regulation does establish minimum qualifications for training instructors,” Spencer said. “The ELDT rule also outlines a process for registering training providers that will hold schools and instructors accountable for their performance. If these standards are maintained and enforced, highway safety will undoubtedly improve.”

The final rule was published in December 2016 and included a significant phase-in period to ensure that systems were in place by the Feb. 7, 2020, deadline. FMCSA is not proposing any other substantive changes to the entry-level driver training final rule. The other portions of the rule will still go into effect next February.

Greg Grisolano

Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.