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FMCSA announces driver training rule delay

Media outlets in Texas and around the country reported on Jan. 20 that the White House had issued a memorandum calling on federal agencies to place pending regulations on hold until President Trump is able to review and approve them. One of the most immediate results of the memorandum was the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's announcement on Feb. 1 that the scheduled implementation of a driver training regulation was being delayed.

The Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Vehicle Operators rule was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 8 and was scheduled to become effective on Feb. 6. The regulation falls under Trump's order despite being published because it had not yet gone into effect. While the White House memorandum prevents new regulations for a period of 60 days, the FMCSA says that further delays are possible if the president or his staff raise objections.

However, road safety advocates may not have reason to be overly concerned as the FMCSA regulation, if it is implemented, will only apply to truck drivers who receive a commercial driver's license from Feb. 7, 2020 onwards, and this date has not changed according to the federal safety agency. The rule stiffens CDL requirements by establishing a core curriculum for classroom instruction, but it has been criticized for not including a minimum amount of behind-the wheel training. The rule initially called for 30 hours of driving instruction, but this requirement had been removed when the FMCSA released the rule's final draft.

Personal injury attorneys with experience in truck accident lawsuits will likely be in favor of any regulations that are designed to improve the skills of commercial vehicle operators. Thousands of road users are killed or injured each year in accidents caused by fatigued, distracted or intoxicated truck drivers, and attorneys may study their driving and violation histories before initiating litigation on behalf of accident victims.

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