New Federal Rules for Drivers and Combination Vehicles

Aimed at improving safety of commercial motor vehicle operations, FMCSA has issued regulations with training requirements for operators of Longer Combination Vehicles (LCV) and those who instruct LCV drivers. The rules become effective on June 1.

Drivers may be grandfathered if “during the last two years immediately before applying for the exemption, he or she had no suspension, revocation, or cancellation of his or her CDL,” among other qualifications. The FMCSA estimates that 1,750 of the current 35,000 LCV drivers won’t qualify for grandfathering. Former employers are now required to respond to inquiries about driver history from prospective new employers in the other FMCSA ruling.

Reasoning provided for the new ruling includes the fact that previously there was no specification for “what minimum information must be investigated, nor was there a requirement for previous employers to provide that information to prospective motor carrier employers when requested. Consequently, many former employers decline to respond to employment investigations, while others – for fear of litigation – merely verify that the driver worked for the carrier and provide the driver’s dates of employment.”

With the new rule, previous employers must now respond to prospective employer requests within 30 days. These rules were published in the Federal Register on March 30, 2004, Volume 69, Number 61, beginning on pages 16684 and 16722. Read them at www.gpoaccess.gov or www.fmcsa.dot.gov

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