Truck drivers are in short supply today; that is a fact. However, that is also an excellent opportunity for anybody looking to build a successful career. The trucking industry has a lot to offer, but the main pain point is that young people are not exposed enough to this line of work. Since February 7th, 2022, the new training standards have been in place, so this is an excellent opportunity to talk more about the industry, new training requirements for entry-level truckers, and the benefits of the job.
Who do these training regulations apply to?
If you are starting a career as a trucker, you need to familiarize yourself with these new rules. The new regulations apply to anyone trying to:
- apply for their first CDL Class A or B license;
- upgrade from Class B license to Class A license;
- get a special designation to drive a bus or transport hazardous materials.
Before drivers can apply for these designations, they first need to undergo training.
The new rules require evidence of the test
CDL now requires evidence about the training the applicants took. However, the good thing is that there are no more requirements for the minimum number of hours that an applicant must spend behind the wheel before qualifying for the license. What they need to do is:
- obtain the training program that meets the FMCSA requirements;
- pass the test on a closed course and the open road.
Another good thing is that there are no more required hours for the knowledge training. This is probably because the new program provides quality training and knowledge for future drivers. With quality training, future truck drivers will have everything they need to help companies overcome the supply chain challenges in 2022.
How to prepare yourself for the new driver training?
The best way to prepare for a test is to speak with the people who have already taken it. Learning from the experiences of others is a great strategy. However, since these are new rules, we don’t have any new drivers that took this test. Instead, we spoke with employees from a couple of companies that hire truck drivers, and we tried to learn from their experience. Here is what we learned from the drivers of allstatemoving.net and combined it with the new regulations.
The instructions are split into five major areas for anybody taking the Class A and B tests. These areas encompass 30 theory topics for a Class A test and 29 theory topics for a Class B test.
The areas mentioned above are:
- basic operation: inspecting the vehicle, basic controls handling, backing, and docking training;
- safe operating practices: managing speed and space, night driving training, driving under extreme conditions:
- advanced operating practices: hazard perception, skid control, and recovery training, and hazard perception;
- vehicle systems: performing roadside inspections, learning how to identify and diagnose any malfunctions;
- non-driving activities: hours of service, planning routes, medical requirements checkups.
Drivers applying for a hazardous materials endorsement for the first time must complete a theory training that includes 13 topics. Through these topics, new drivers will learn everything about:
- bulk tank loading;
- unloading and marking;
- parking rules;
- driving a truck with hazardous materials;
- emergency procedures;
- main responsibilities;
- the most important communication rules;
- loading and unloading hazardous materials.
After the trainees take the test, the person in charge will assess their knowledge. The overall minimum score to pass should be at least 80% of all training material.
If applying for Class A and Class B CDL licenses, every trainee must pass a range and public road driving test. Range test includes seven topics, and some of those are vehicle inspection, parking, and backing. When it comes to the public road test, it covers twelve topics, like standard vehicle controls, visual search, and hazard perception.
Furthermore, these rules do not require a minimum number of driving hours. The final decision is on the certified instructor. The trainee should be able to repeat each driving task a couple of times in a row without making a mistake. Then, the instructor’s professional judgment comes into place. If they decide that the driver is skilled enough, they pass the exam.
Where can you get the training instructions?
By law, all entry-level drivers must get their training instructions in an official school or an entity listed on the Training Provider Registry list.
Every training provider will have to complete and send an online application for the trainees. The online application consists of:
- the provider’s name;
- facility name;
- contact information;
- if the driver enrolment is open to the public or private;
- type of training;
- average training hours;
- average training cost;
- third party affiliations;
Furthermore, a training provider will also send a list of all the available instructors. Instructors do not need to apply separately.
Every theory and driving instructor must have a valid CDL license for the appropriate class. Besides that, they need to have at least two years of experience in driving a commercial motor vehicle or two years of experience as an instructor. Both need to be under the official CDL rules.
After the test is complete, the training provider must send the certification information electronically through the TPR website. The deadline is midnight of the second business day after the completion of the test. This is proof that the trainee has finished the test. Furthermore, the provider must keep the records at least three years after each was submitted.
How will these new training requirements for entry-level truckers affect the trucking industry’s future?
These rules come at a difficult time, and there is much to discuss. The industry is struggling with the truck driver shortage. However, the new training requirements for entry-level truckers will, in fact, make things better. Removing the required theory learning and behind-the-wheel hours makes it possible for the applicants to finish the training quickly. New drivers can immediately start with the work, which helps a lot. The shortage of drivers is here, but with the newly implemented rules, there are high chances that it will be over soon!