Safety Groups Call for Real-world-driving Requirement for New Truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently released new rules for truck driver training that do not call for a minimum number of real-world driving hours. Now, a coalition of highway safety advocates is calling on the agency to require such minimum real-world driving experience.

The coalition, which includes the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and others have petitioned the FMCSA, calling on the it to include a requirement mandating that new truck drivers have a minimum number of hours of driving behind the wheel before they are allowed to drive independently.

FMCSA recently issued final rules governing the hiring of entry-level truck drivers, and says that it did not include real-world driving training in this rule because it did not make financial sense. According to the Agency, it does not have enough evidence to link such real-world driving to greater safety outcomes, and does not believe that the safety benefits of requiring such real-world training are clear enough for it to mandate expensive training.

According to the Coalition however, it is absurd that new commercial truck drivers need to spend exactly zero number of hours behind the wheel in a real-world environment before they are allowed to drive independently on the highway.  According to them, studies currently show that rookie commercial drivers between the ages of 19 and 20 have a risk of being involved in a fatal accident that is as much as six times higher than more experienced other truck drivers.

Real-world truck driving must be learned on the road, and not simply taught in a theoretical setting.  For instance, a new commercial truck driver may not realize what exactly happens when he slams on the brakes of a massive tractor-trailer that weighs 80,000 pounds. In the real world, an action like this significantly increases the risk of an accident involving other vehicles, and could mean the difference between life and death.

Truck driver error is a major factor influencing truck accident rates across Georgia.  In many cases, drivers make errors simply because they have not been properly trained, or have had lackadaisical or haphazard training before they are allowed to independently operate a commercial vehicle.  Our truck accident lawyers are here to hold negligent drivers, companies and their insurance providers responsible for the damage and injuries they cause.

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