Safety Alliance

Commercial Vehicle Operator Safety

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established standards for mandatory training requirements for entry-level drivers on four specific topics. This regulation will apply to all drivers operating in interstate commerce including all motor vehicles, trucks, motorcoaches, buses, school buses, or combinations of motor vehicles. An entry-level driver is defined by the FMCSA as a driver with less than one year of experience operating a CMV with a CDL in interstate commerce.

Course Objectives

The training material used for new drivers must include instruction addressing the following four areas:

  1. Driver Qualification Requirements

This includes the Federal rules on medical certification, medical examination procedures, general qualification, responsibilities, and disqualifications based on various offenses, orders, and loss of driving privileges.

  1. Hours of Service

The limitations on driving hours, the requirement to be off-duty for certain periods of time, record of duty status preparation, and exceptions.  Also included should be fatigue countermeasures as a means to avoid crashes. 

  1. Driver Wellness

This should include information about basic health maintenance including diet and exercise, and the importance of avoiding excessive use of alcohol. 

  1. Whistleblower Protection

This should include the right of an employee to question the safety practices of an employer without the employee’s risk of losing a job or being subject to reprisals simply for stating a safety concern. 

Additional Information

Course Length: 4 hrs

Course Required By: All new drivers hired after July 20th, 2004 must receive training BEFORE driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) and it is the employer’s responsibility to be sure that they do so.  There was a 90 day grace period for drivers who started driving between the dates of July 20th 2003 and July 20th 2004; these individuals must have received the training before October 18th, 2004.

Written Exam: Written and hands-on competency will be evaluated at the end of the course. Incorrectly answered questions will be reviewed with student to ensure understanding before completion of course.

Retraining: Company-specific