If you think that new truck drivers need more hands-on training and more hours behind the wheel, you’re not alone.
An Overdrive magazine poll shows that most of the magazine’s readers share that sentiment, believing that entry-level driver training should include a significant number of hours behind the wheel. Overdrive Editorial Director Max Heine wrote about the poll in an opinion piece.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and industry stakeholders in a negotiated rule making committee originally set that at 30. But the agency has since withdrawn that requirement from the final training rule. Instead, trainers are supposed to assess the trainee’s performance to see if it’s adequate.
One of two main objections to the 30-hour minimum is that no data clearly ties accidents to lack of behind-the-wheel training. Studies are under way that might provide that data, but in the meantime, why not opt on the side of caution? If studies later prove there is no correlation, revisit the rule.
Heine compared the disparity to a student who skips many classes, then performs well on tests after cramming for them. He asserts:
“But his level of mastery won’t compare to that of the student who’s attended all classes and done all the homework and reading. Mastery of driving a heavy-duty truck, like mastering most things in life, requires baptism by immersion, not sprinkling.”
The article cites a report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that shows people aged 19 to 24 are more likely than other drivers to text while driving and are less likely to support restrictions on distracted driving.
Heine asserts that more hours behind the wheel could enlighten new drivers on what it takes to drive a truck safely.
Read Heine’s full story here.
What do you think, drivers? Do people new to CDL driver jobs need more hours behind the wheel before their training is through? Join our community here and share your thoughts.