FMCSA seeking comments on graduated CDL

As the trucking industry continues to wrestle with obtaining and retaining qualified drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is considering a rule that would enforce graduated training in an attempt to enhance driver skills.

The agency is seeking comments on implementing a graduated commercial driver license that would ease beginning drivers into traffic, according to information published in "The Federal Register" February 25.

The system would be designed to give novice drivers on-the-road experience under less risky conditions by progressing, or graduating, through driver licensing stages. After drivers satisfactorily completed the training, they would receive an unrestricted license.

The action follows a series of FMCSA focus group meetings with truck and bus drivers, industry representatives, and enforcement and regulatory agency representatives, all of whom indicated support for the program, according to FMCSA.

However, the groups were divided over whether drivers between 18 and 21 years of age should be eligible as a means for attracting new entrants into the field and increasing the pool of qualified drivers.

FMCSA wants comments about whether the graduated license is needed. The agency also wants to know what kind of training should be required, how many months or years should the drivers spend in the program, and should various driving records be considered before issuing the license. Comments also are solicited on requirements for driving experience and what restrictions should apply. The age of the drivers is also posed.

To see the questions in their entirety and for further information in "The Federal Register,"click here.

Comments including these suggestions and others should be made by May 27, 2003, and mailed to the Dockets Management System (DMS), Department of Transportation, Room Plaza-401, 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington DC 20590-0001. Include the docket number FMCSA-2002-12334 at the beginning of the comments. Comments also can be faxed to 202-493-2251 or submitted electronically at http://dms.dot.gov.

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