Tennessee Fleet Insurance News: FMCSA Postpones Federal Training Standards Change

Tennessee Fleet Insurance News: FMCSA Postpones Federal Training Standards Change

Three years ago, in December of 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced their plan to standardize new CDL driver training across the nation. The new CDL training requirements would include mandated classroom time, driving time on the road and range driving time, to be taught at a federally recognized trucking school, by a recognized trucking teacher.

However, FMCSA has now published at the Federal Register a two year delay to the rule, postponing the effective date until February, 2022.

On CDL Driver Shortages

At J.E.B. Insurance, our customers are fleet managers and owner-operators. If you’ve read our blog before, you know there is a tremendous shortage of CDL drivers on the road right now. Research suggests we’re short about 60,000 drivers on the road as of 2019, though anecdotal stories passed around at truck stops and among fleet managers make us think the number may be closer to 200,000 open CDL positions in the US today.

This suggests a problem of quality, not quantity. Tens of thousands of licensees aren’t working. Have they chosen to leave the field due to recent changes like electronic logs and hours of service changes? Or have they been laid off or terminated for poor driving records or high insurance risks?

We suspect it’s a shortage of EXCELLENT drivers who can stand the rigors of life on the road.

Standardized Training Could Improve Fleet Hiring

As it stands right now, prospective drivers can show up to a DMV in their home state, pass their CDL tests and a physical, and be on the road in a week or two.

  • New drivers may have holes in their training, or struggle with key concepts, but still pass tests.
  • The quality, and talent of new drivers varies wildly from one individual to the next.

By completing a thorough program, new drivers of 2022 will all possess the same essential skills. We think it will make hiring new drivers easier! But we’re going to wait two more years to find out.

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David Ott

David Ott