Challenging the FMCSA rules in a lawsuit filed in 2004 was the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and two other safety advocate groups. At issue was the fact that under last year’s regulations, the was no requirement for training behind the wheel of a tractor for entry-level drivers.
As OOIDA noted, while Congress had mandated the rule in 1991, it took the FMCSA 13 years to write it after it took that time to study just what sort of training would be needed. The ruling has several references to FMCSA not using its own evidence.
In writing his opinion, Senior Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards noted that the agency’s own study concluded that, “in order for any training program to be ‘adequate,’ it must include ‘on-street hours’ of training.” Further, noted Judge Edwards, “The agency, without coherent explanation, has promulgated a rule that is so at odds with the record assembled by the Department of Transportation that the action cannot stand.” He then ordered the agency to make further rules that are consistent with his opinion.
Current rules, which will remain in effect until new ones are issues, requires 10 hours of non-driving training, including such matters as filling out logbooks and what qualifications are necessary for being a commercial driver. No deadline was given the agency for issuing new rules.