In comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), AGC pointed out the difficulty the construction industry is having finding qualified truck drivers with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) and urged that new rules not make the shortage worse. The comments were directed at a proposed rule that FMCSA has developed requiring minimum training requirements for entry-level truck drivers. FMCSA’s rule proposes that entry level drivers must take a driver theory class (on-line or in classroom) and satisfactorily pass a test and then successfully complete 30 hours of behind the wheel (BTW) training (some hours on a closed range and some on the open road) in order to obtain a CDL. AGC said the driving theory classes are good but suggested that BTW requirements be competency based and not based on hours judging drivers on their skill set rather than number of hours. The comments said this would allow a focus on areas that need concentration and allows the training to also focus on industry specific needs.
AGC’s comments also pointed out that many construction companies have in-house training for truck drivers and that these should be acceptable to meet the entry level training requirements. While reading the proposed rule indicates that this would be the case, AGC asked that the rule clarify it. AGC also supported self-certification for trainers to be included on the registry of approved instructors that are eligible to teach the training and administer tests. AGC acknowledged that FMCSA’s rule is responding to a Congressional mandate and a court order, nevertheless it was pointed out that studies have shown that there is not a direct link between training hours and safety results.