Prospective truck drivers in North Carolina and around the country will receive training according to standards set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The new rules became effective on June 5, 2017 after a five-month delay imposed by the Trump administration. The training standards will apply to applicants who receive their commercial driver’s licenses on or after Feb. 7, 2020.
In the meantime, truck driver training academies and training operations run by trucking companies will update their programs to meet the new curriculum standards. The new rules call for behind-the-wheel instruction and FMCSA certification of trainers. Trainers meeting the new requirements will be placed on a registry of qualified trainers that CDL applicants must go to.
The FMCSA worked with industry stakeholders to develop the new standards. Originally, regulators called for a minimum of 30 hours of training behind the wheel, but the final rules do not specify an exact number of hours of instruction.
The hazards to motorists presented by large commercial vehicles are well known, and the reformed training standards could improve the skills of truck operators. When commercial truck accidents do happen, an occupant of another vehicle might suffer from severe injuries and meet with difficulties when trying to make a personal injury claim against a trucking company. An attorney could relieve some of the burdens on an individual by organizing evidence from the accident report and checking for violations of trucking regulations that could support a claim of negligence. If the driver was negligent and on the clock at the time, the company could be held responsible under the theory of vicarious liability.