A national association representing professional truckers has launched a new campaign to address the biggest safety gap in the trucking industry: the lack of basic training standards for new drivers.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, OOIDA, says that “Truckers for Safety” will prepare the next generation of long-haul truckers and proactively address other highway safety concerns.
“Better trained drivers mean safer drivers,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “An experienced career trucker is the type that people want to share the road with, and our members tell us that training should be the biggest focus of highway safety efforts.”
Current regulations do not include training requirements for becoming a long-haul truck driver, despite a congressional requirement for such standards dating from the 1990s. While new drivers must pass a CDL test, testing covers only basic operations and does not address the many on-the-road demands faced by truckers or the hundreds of regulations they are responsible for following.
The agenda spelled out in the campaign points out that the more experienced career truckers with safe driving records are often replaced by new drivers with no experience or training – who are again replaced by newer drivers a few months later when they leave the industry.
“This churn results in more accidents, which in turn will lead to greater congestion, more fuel use, lost cargoes and greater inefficiency in our nation’s freight transportation network,” says Spencer.
OOIDA’s observation over the years is that too many training programs have been focused on guaranteeing new drivers their CDLs quickly instead of ensuring they will be trained and knowledgeable truckers.
The campaign includes not only an agenda for basic training, but also provisions for improving infrastructure, truck parking, passenger vehicle education and enforcement efforts that encourage safe driving.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has nearly 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area.