In a Federal Register notice, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is calling for comment on recommendations for membership to a negotiated rulemaking committee on minimum training requirements for entry-level commercial drivers. Comments will be accepted through Jan. 9, 2015.
With this latest notice, FMCSA is soliciting nominations for members of the rulemaking committee from commercial driver and training organizations, truck and bus associations, motor carriers, state licensing and law enforcement agencies, labor unions, safety advocacy groups, insurance companies and the public.
The agency is working to ensure that a “diversity” of candidates are considered to create a balanced committee. Individuals and organizations that will be significantly affected and believe their interests will not be represented on the proposed committee are encouraged to nominate themselves or someone else.
The negotiated rulemaking committee will examine minimum training requirements, including length of classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel experience, accreditation versus certification of CDL training programs and schools, curricula for passenger, property and hazardous materials carriers, instructor qualifications and other areas.
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) charges FMCSA with establishing minimum training requirements for individuals seeking to obtain an intrastate or interstate commercial driver’s license (CDL) and become a professional truck or bus operator.
In August, FMCSA announced by notice in the Federal Register that it had retained a neutral convener and would explore proceeding with a negotiated rulemaking. The convener interviewed stakeholders and has recommended proceeding with a negotiated rulemaking.
Charlie Hood, executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Student Transportation Services, said in August that comments submitted in 2008 to an NPRM filed the prior year, stressed the school bus industry's "documented safety record" and "the comprehensive, existing pre-service school bus driver training programs."
The original NPRM submitted in 2008 never referred to school buses, only trucks. Hood pointed out that NASDPTS also provided testimony in March 2013 at an FMCSA listening session held to discuss the rulemaking.
NASDPTS and the National School Transportation Association, which represents school bus contractor interests, requested that school bus drivers be exempted from the additional training requirements. NSTA said at the time that the proposed training requirements could cost more than $88.4 million in the first year, compared to only $360,000 estimated by FMCSA.