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December 26, 2007 2:00 PM, EST

FMCSA Proposes New CDL Requirements

Rule Would Require Educational Accreditation
Bruce Andrew Peters for TT

Commercial driver licenses applicants would be required to complete classroom and behind-the-wheel training from an accredited program, under a proposed new federal rule announced Wednesday.

Beginning three years after the effective date of a final rule, CDL or upgraded CDL applicants would be required to provide a valid certificate from an accredited truck driving program, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced.

“This proposed rule will give truck drivers additional skills needed to keep our roads safe,” FMCSA Administrator John Hill said in a statement.

The rule would not affect current CDL holders.

The training curriculum includes CDL safety regulations, vehicle operation and safe operating practices, FMCSA said.

The educational institution must be accredited by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.

For a “Class A” CDLs for tractor-trailer drivers, the rule would require a minimum of 76 hours of classroom instruction and 44 hours of behind-the-wheel training, for a total of 120 hours.

For “Class B” CDLs (large “box” or van trucks) and “Class C” CDLs (hazardous materials or certain passenger-carrying vehicles), the proposed rule would require a minimum of 58 hours of classroom instruction and 32 hours behind-the-wheel training, for a total of 90 hours.