Grain Valley, Mo., - The nation's largest association representing professional truckers, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, OOIDA, hopes today's final decision from the court on hours-of-service regulations means the industry, Congress and agencies will proactively take on the issue of driver training. That issue has been ignored for far too long.
"As far as hours of service, we have long believed that drivers need flexibility to do their jobs safely. That hasn't changed. But the court's decision has put the issue to bed for now," said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. "That being said, hopefully we can now move on to addressing the biggest safety gap in the trucking industry and that's the lack of basic training standards for new drivers."
The Association says that its recently launched safety agenda, "Truckers for Safety," will prepare the next generation of long-haul truckers and address other highway safety concerns. More details can be found on the campaign website here: Truckers for Safety.
"Better trained drivers mean safer drivers," said Spencer. "An experienced career trucker is the type that people want to share the road with, and training should be the biggest focus of highway safety efforts."
Current regulations do not include training requirements for becoming a long-haul truck driver, despite a 1986 recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board and congressional directive for such standards dating as far back as the 1990s. While new drivers must pass a CDL test, testing covers only basic operations and does not address the many on-the-road demands faced by truckers or the hundreds of regulations they are responsible for following.
The agenda spelled out in the campaign points out that the more experienced career truckers with safe driving records are often replaced by new drivers with no experience or training - who are again replaced by newer drivers a few months later when they leave the industry. The campaign includes not only an agenda for basic training, but also provisions for improving infrastructure, truck parking, passenger vehicle driver education, and enforcement efforts that encourage safe driving.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the Greater Kansas City, Mo., area.