The National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) has expressed its concerns about proposed driver training requirements by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
NACDs most grave concern about the proposal is the requirement that all entry-level drivers receive their training through a provider or program accredited by an agency recognized by the Department of Education or by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation. "While this leaves the option open for those companies with their own commercial motor vehicles to develop their own training programs and seek their own accreditation, this is not a feasible option for the vast majority of businesses, including chemical distributors," NACD said in comments filed before FMCSA May 22.
NACD said most of those companies' drivers already have commercial driver licenses (CDLs). "It would not be worth the time and effort to establish such a program and seek accreditation for periodic new hires only," NACD argued. "The reality is that only very large companies with substantial resources would be able to establish their own driver training programs to meet the requirements outlined in the FMCSA NPRM."
NACD added that the lack of capacity in existing institutions for training drivers of companies who cannot establish their own accredited programs is another concern. "With an average of over 50,000 new drivers expected to be needed for each of the next 10 years, there would be tremendous demand for the accredited training program, and there is no guarantee that capacity could be increased enough to satisfy the demand," NACD said in the comments. "The result of this would be high prices, which could prevent drivers from seeking CDLs as well as delays for drivers even being able to enter their training programs. Both the high costs and the delays would contribute to the worsening driver shortage in the United States."
NACD recommended the adoption of safety-based performance-based training standards that would allow for flexibility.