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What Are the Training Requirements for Truck Drivers?

Truck drivers are professional drivers. Their job consists of crisscrossing the country, delivering goods to those who need them. It is difficult and often exhausting and stressful work. It also carries immense risks. Commercial trucks are massive vehicles, sometimes weighing more than 80,000 pounds. Controlling and maneuvering these machines properly takes specialized training. However, you may be surprised to learn what truck driving training requirements entail.

Truck accidents are uniquely devastating events that often leave victims struggling to survive physically and sometimes financially. Understanding truck driver training requirements can be important if you are in an accident and plan to pursue compensation. At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, we want you to be aware of what goes into training a truck driver and how the industry is changing to better protect all drivers.

Truck Driver Training Requirements

States have a patchwork of regulations and qualifications that someone who wants to become a truck driver must follow and obtain. A certificate from an accredited state truck driving school is generally enough to qualify an individual to drive commercial trucks. Each state typically lays out its own curriculum and specifications. Drivers must also earn a commercial driver’s license known as a CDL.

The companies that hire commercial truck drivers may also have their own set of requirements and qualifications the individual must have to apply to drive for them. Employers may also have specific training programs that need to be successfully completed as a condition of employment.

In Louisiana, drivers looking to gain a CDL license must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. Drivers who want to cross state lines or carry hazardous materials must be at least 21. Drivers are also required to complete a physical examination given by a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration-approved doctor.

The state also offers different CDL license classifications, depending on the type of rig you want to drive or the type of materials you want to transport. These license classifications are as follows:

Class A- A Class A CDL license applies only to combination vehicles. These are vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating or GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds, with a GVWR of the towed vehicle being more than 10,000 pounds. Drivers who acquire a Class A CDL can also legally operate vehicles included in Class B and Class C.

Class B– A Class B license will allow someone to drive single or combination vehicles when the GVWR is more than 26,000 pounds and the vehicle being pulled is not more than 10,000 pounds.

Class C– Class C includes any single or combination vehicle that does not meet the specifications of Class A or Class B.

How the Industry Is Changing

Different states tend to have different rules, regulations, and requirements for truck drivers. However, most truck drivers end up transporting goods across the country, crossing state lines. As of February 7th, 2022, there will be new federal regulations for entry-level truck driver training (ELDT). These regulations are meant to enhance the safety of the nation’s roadways by establishing new minimum training requirements for drivers across the board.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has now established a baseline for entry-level truck driver training requirements. These are regulations that will apply across all states, giving more uniformity to the process of becoming a truck driver. The new ELDT regulations will require all entry-level drivers to complete at least one of the following:

  • Obtain a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time
  • Upgrade an existing Class B CDL to a Class A
  • Obtain a school bus, passenger, or hazardous materials endorsement for the first time

Potential drivers must also complete mandatory training programs outlined by the agency. Driving schools, employers, and unions must also register their programs with the FMCSA and certify that their programs meet all new ELDT requirements.

The federal program will then operate a Training Provider Registry that will contain records of which CDL applicants have met the new training and certification guidelines. However, these regulations are not retroactive, meaning that anyone who completed training prior to February 7th will not be subject to the new ELDT requirements.

Involved in a Truck Accident? Contact Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC Today

While more involvement in standardizing training programs is a step in the right direction, serious accidents can still happen. If you are involved in a large truck accident, you need to get an experienced Louisiana truck accident attorney from Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC on your side immediately.

Filing a claim and negotiating with a trucking company’s insurer is notoriously difficult. To get the money you deserve, call our office at 337-800-8800 and set up a risk-free consultation.

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