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Truck driver minimum training rule a step closer to final

There is a push underway to try to bolster the ranks of the corps of drivers that handles the big rigs on the roads of Texas and the rest of the country. As we noted in a post back in July, the U.S. Senate is considering legislation that would make it possible for 18-year-old drivers to take the wheels of semitrailer trucks for some interstate hauls.

It's an action that has been met with some resistance from some experts who are concerned about statistics that show younger drivers are responsible for more fatal vehicle accidents than other drivers are. Those experts are of the opinion that putting such young drivers at the controls of such massive machines is an invitation to disaster.

It is in this atmosphere that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing a new rule on the minimum requirements for entry-level driver training. Officials submitted the proposal to the main office of the Department of Transportation earlier this month. When it might actually be formalized and take effect is not clear.

The setting of minimum standards is something that has been talked about and worked on for more than 20 years. Congress put the ostensible pedal to the metal in 2012 by requiring the FMCSA to finalize something as part of that year's highway funding legislation.

One proposal, first appearing in June as a consensus recommendation by a group represented by trucking associations, owner-operators and regulators, reportedly calls for applicants for Class A commercial driver's licenses to complete a minimum of 30 hours of training. After that, they would have to be able to show they meet performance standards as established under a 10-page curriculum.

All we can do now is wait to see what the final product will look like.

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