West Virginia truck drivers who receive their commercial driver’s licenses after Feb. 7, 2020 will be trained under new regulations that have almost three years in which to take effect. The rule took effect on June 5 after a five-month delay as a result of an order by President Trump to review regulations.
The rule puts several major changes in place. It sets up a core curriculum for trainees and people applying for their CDLs. It requires training in the truck behind the wheel. Trainers must be drawn from a registry of people approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They must meet a set of standards, and the FMCSA must certify them.
The new regulations have been widely supported, but in the rule’s final form, there has also been criticism because no minimum has been set for behind-the-wheel training time. Originally, the proposal set a 30-hour minimum, and trucking lobbyists were in favor of this.
Training is important because accidents involving trucks may be very serious. Because of the size of trucks, there is a danger that things like jackknifing, rollovers or ride-unders might occur. People who are in truck accidents may suffer severe injuries including head injuries, amputations or burns. These types of injuries might be permanent, but even less severe injuries might result in a person struggling with high medical bills and lost income from time away from work. If the truck driver was at fault in the accident but the injured person is offered too little in compensation, a lawsuit may be a way to recover additional compensation. The trucking company might be liable as well.