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4 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION BACKGROUND and is typically reactive rather than proactive. That is, aside from an orientation to company policies and procedures, only Large trucks are overrepresented in fatal crashes. In 2000, drivers identified as "high risk" will receive supplemental large trucks accounted for 4% of the nation's registered vehi- vehicular training over the minimum needed to qualify for the cles, 7% of traffic volume, and 13% of all fatal crashes (Federal CDL. Most drivers do not drive for major carriers that con- Highway Administration, 2002). To reduce the incidence of duct this level of training, and those who do may not stay long preventable crashes, training programs are offered as a coun- enough to complete supplemental programs. termeasure to improve fleet safety by improving the skills and Unfortunately, as the need for trained drivers has increased, knowledge of commercial drivers. recent trends show a decline in the number of formal pro- The FHWA has advised caution in selecting a driver train- grams offering commercial driving instruction. Ultimately, ing program. There are many schools--some operated com- this need must be addressed. But first it is essential to iden- mercially, and some operated privately by large carriers--with tify and document best practices for commercial driver differing objectives, facilities, and staff orientation. FHWA training to ensure that the most effective methods are applied, provides a list of discriminating factors in its Commercial for the health of the industry and for the safety of the driving Vehicle Preventable Accident Manual: A Guide to Counter- public. measures (Uzgiris et al., 1991): curriculum content, adequacy of facilities, compatibility of training vehicles with company fleet, staff qualifications and experience, certification, referrals, OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE and hours of actual driving instruction and practice. There are three primary sources of trained drivers: private The objectives of this research were to identify and doc- schools that charge tuition and receive some funding through ument CMV driver training programs and practices, with a government programs; public junior colleges and community focus on large trucks and buses, resulting in a synthesis of colleges that offer transportation programs that include truck practices that will be useful to truck and bus carriers as well driver training; and the carriers themselves, who provide as state departments of transportation (DOTs) and depart- training either in place of, or to augment, what is provided ments of motor vehicles (DMVs). The scope of the study by schools. Traditionally, formal training programs include included a comprehensive literature review, complemented three components--classroom instruction, skills training in a by a survey of selected truck and bus companies, industry restricted (off-road) area, and on-the-road instruction. associations, and public and private driving schools. The infor- No federal standards for commercial driver training exist mation sought in the literature review and survey permitted the with the exception of the recently passed minimum require- research team to identify and examine (1) similarities and dif- ments (Federal Register, 2004) for training in four topics, ferences in training strategies among existing driver training estimated to require 10 hours of training for heavy truck and programs, (2) similarities and differences in the curricula motorcoach drivers as discussed later in this report. However, applied in selected training programs, and (3) the extent to a de facto curriculum standard for the training of new truck which simulator- and computer-based technologies can be drivers is that published by PTDI. There also are no standards used to enhance the effectiveness of commercial driver train- for the instructors who deliver training materials (outside of ing programs. those published by PTDI for instructors who teach at PTDI- certified institutions), a significant omission considering the observations by those with lengthy industry experience that RESEARCH METHODS instructor knowledge and skill are at least as important to the instructional process and a student's subsequent safety record An exhaustive technical information search was conducted as curriculum content. to pinpoint knowledge domains used in driver training pro- Once drivers have obtained a CDL, any additional training grams delivered by truck driving schools and the commer- they receive will most likely be provided by their employers cial vehicle industry. Journal articles, government research

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5 publications and study reports, and trade papers were iden- A 12-question survey was developed based on the infor- tified and acquired to meet this need from the following mation gleaned from the literature review, then revised in sources: electronic information and abstracting database accordance with suggestions by the project consultants.1 The services; state DOT library and information centers; and resulting survey form, presented in Appendix A, was mailed to professional organizations devoted to driver training and the 24 schools, 42 truck and bus companies, and 23 organiza- education, highway safety, and commercial driver issues tions described above. (e.g., the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education A period of 1 month was allowed for survey recipients to Association, the American Association of Motor Vehicle complete and return their responses. When a smaller-than- Administrators, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, anticipated level of response was obtained, the project was and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety). The electronic extended to accommodate the supplemental efforts described index and abstract databases on transportation and highway below: safety topics that were searched included TRIS online; SilverPlatter's TRANSPORT CD-ROM (database includes Telephone contacts were made with every survey recip- bibliographic information from TRIS, the Organization for ient 1 month after the survey mailing date. The recipi- Economic Cooperation and Development, and the European ents were provided with additional background on the Conference of Ministers of Transport); other transportation purpose of the research and on its sponsor (TRB); the and education databases from DIALOG (e.g., Compendex, importance of industry input to advancing safety through ERIC, and NTIS); and the internet (using various search better training of CMV drivers was emphasized; and the engines, such as Yahoo, Google, and Lycos). Search terms recipients were asked to complete and return the sur- included commercial motor vehicles, CMV, bus, truck, train- veys within a 2-week timeframe. Individuals who indi- ing, driver education, skills programs, driving performance, cated that no survey had been received during the prior commercial driver license requirements, and operator needs mailing were provided with a faxed copy following the and deficiencies. Based on the project team's review of telephone conversation. abstracts for all candidates, 28 technical documents were A project consultant made in-person requests for survey prioritized for review and synthesis. responses to participants at the National Private Truck A key element in the project was to gain the perspective Council conference approximately 2 months following of experts regarding what works (and what does not work) the survey mailing date. in training entry-level CMV drivers to perform safely under Follow-up telephone contacts were conducted 3 months a full range of operating conditions. To this end, lists of after the survey mailing date. During these contacts, many potential survey contacts were drafted, reviewed by project survey recipients indicated that the survey content did consultants with close ties to the trucking industry,1 and not apply to them. Another subset of respondents refused augmented to reflect the consultants' input. A preliminary to participate, indicating that their companies do not list of truck driving schools consequently was narrowed to participate in surveys as a rule or stating that no one in focus on vocational/technical school and community col- the company could spend the time required to complete lege programs that have received PTDI certification, high- the survey. lighting those that have been recognized as an "Editor's Pick" by the All American Truck Driving School Guide. A Surveys were returned by five schools, three trucking total of 24 schools were thus selected to receive surveys in companies, and one bus company. Interestingly, over one- this research. Similarly, a list of 42 truck and bus companies quarter of the truck and bus companies that were contacted that received a safety-related reward or recognition in but did not complete the survey advised that they neither 2002--such as a National Industrial Safety Contest winner hire entry-level drivers nor provide finishing training; instead or National Truck Safety Contest winner--or that were iden- these companies require new hires to have a minimum of tified by project consultants as having exemplary training 2 years (or 100,000 hours) of verifiable experience and a practices were selected as candidate information sources. clean record. Finally, 23 organizations were identified as potentially use- Information obtained from the survey respondents was ful survey respondents in this project, including government used to (1) augment the results of the literature review in safety organizations, professional and trade associations, characterizing current training practices, and (2) support and insurers of commercial carriers. Bus, as well as truck, inferences about the effectiveness of specific, enhanced train- and Canadian, as well as U.S., interests were represented in ing practices and approaches for entry-level CMV drivers. In the final list of survey recipients. the chapters that follow, a review of the literature describ- ing what is currently considered adequate training for entry- level CMV drivers is presented, along with methods used to 1Mr. John Brock, Milestone Group, Arlington, VA; Mr. Robert Inderbitzen, CTP, REI Safety Services, LLC, Southbury, CT, Director of Safety and Compliance, National Pri- deliver training programs and their effectiveness. The input vate Truck Council; Mr. John McFann, J. McFann Consulting, Fort Wayne, IN. received from driving school instructors and truck and bus

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6 company trainers that describes their current teaching methods this project was disappointing, many comments about train- and their ratings of the effectiveness of various training ing needs for entry-level CMV drivers were generated by techniques is presented next. schools, associations, and carriers in response to the NPRM Because respondents were assured that their individual by the FMCSA, posted in the Federal Register on August 4, responses would remain anonymous, schools and compa- 2003, and earlier in an ANPRM posted on June 21, 1993. nies that participated in the data collection activity are not The industry perspectives provided by these comments are identified in the summary. While the survey return rate in incorporated into the following chapter.