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Do Truck Drivers Need More Training?

How Training Standards for Truckers Impact Road Safety

The current standards for truck driver training are not adequate. Although truck drivers must complete a written exam and a skills test to get a CDL, that doesn’t mean they are prepared for the long haul. From high turnover rates to motor carrier training challenges, here’s what you need to know.

How Does The High Turnover Rates of Truckers Pose Road Safety Risks?

According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), motor carriers have challenges retaining drivers. The quarterly turnover rates are as follows as recorded in 2014 by these categories:

  • Large Truckload – 96% turnover
  • Small Truckload – 94% turnover
  • Less-than truckload – 11%

So what do these statistics tell us about safety risks? For one, it means there is a need to hire and train new inexperienced truck drivers who are not yet skilled in handling big rigs, semi trucks, and other large vehicles. Not to mention the long hours and fatigue that come with the job. More inexperienced and fatigued truck drivers on the road increase the chance of more road accidents.

ATRI’s research also found that the average cost to replace a driver is about $3,500, including advertising, recruiting, training, and onboarding a new driver. As a result, high turnover rates are not only a safety risk, but can be a significant financial burden for trucking companies. High turnover also affects morale. When drivers are constantly quitting or getting fired, it can create a negative culture within the company, resulting in even more safety risks as drivers may take shortcuts or risks they wouldn’t usually take.

Does The FMCSA Regulate Truck Driver Training?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does regulate truck driver training standards. All new truck drivers must complete a training program at least 30 hours long. This program must include both classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction. However, training regulations do not always mean that each driver is ready and skilled enough to be on the road.

For drivers who want to transport hazardous materials, there is an additional requirement. These drivers must complete a training program at least 24 hours long.

The FMCSA regulates the number of hours that truck drivers can work weekly. Drivers are limited to 70 hours of driving time in a 7-day period or 80 hours in an 8-day period. They must also take a break of at least 34 consecutive hours after working 70 hours in a 7-day period or 80 hours in an 8-day period.

Related Article: How Common is Truck Driver Fatigue?

What Are Some Challenges When It Comes To Training Truckers?

There are a few challenges that trucking companies face when it comes to training drivers. As mentioned previously, it can be expensive to train new drivers. Trucking companies must pay for the training program’s cost and the instructor’s time.

Another challenge is that it can be difficult to find qualified instructors. There is a shortage of qualified CDL instructors across the country, meaning that trucking companies may have to wait months or even years to train their drivers. Lastly, keeping drivers motivated to complete their training can be challenging. Some drivers may get discouraged after a few weeks and decide to quit. Others may not take the training seriously and end up failing.

In conclusion, the high turnover rates of truck drivers pose many safety risks. Proper training can minimize these risks, but it is not always easy or cheap for trucking companies to provide this training. The FMCSA regulates truck driver training, but some challenges still need to be addressed.

Contact a San Jose Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Truck crash injuries are serious and can pose life-altering consequences. If a negligent truck driver has harmed you or a loved one, we’re here to help you through a difficult time. At Caputo and Van Der Walde – Injury & Accident Attorneys, our personal injury lawyers have the experience and resources necessary to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.