Court orders stronger training standards for commercial truck drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations governing minimum standards for entry-level truck driver training are inadequate based on the record developed during the rulemaking process, a federal appeals court ruled today.
The minimum requirements adopted last May by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration involve only classroom education and in only four areas: medical qualification and drug and alcohol testing; hours-of-service regulations; wellness; and whistleblower protection.
The court said: “The (FMCSR staff’s) Adequacy Report determined that effective training for CMV drivers required practical, on-the-road instruction on how to operate a heavy vehicle. But FMCSA ignored this evidence and opted for a program that focuses on areas unrelated to the practical demands of operating a commercial motor vehicle.”
The appeals court agreed with Advocates that the sharp contrast between FMCSA’s earlier conclusions and the terms of the final rule shows the agency’s actions to be “arbitrary and capricious” and in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. “The agency, without coherent explanation, has promulgated a rule that is so at odds with the record assembled by DOT that the action cannot stand. Accordingly, we grant the petitions for review and remand the final rule to the agency for further rulemaking consistent with this opinion.”
It does seem incredible that the FMCSA would adopt truck driver minimum training standards that do not include having to actually drive a truck on the highway. But, hey, new lawyers have been admitted to practice law for generations without ever actually trying a case or counseling a client.
The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a “SuperLawyer” in Atlanta Magazine and one of the “Legal Elite” in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks).