Driver’s Ed

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase: “It’s better to be judged by 12 then carried by 6.”  This refers to the hope the decisions you make may save your life, but could put you in legal jeopardy.  The vast majority would agree with the idea.  But what about those CDL drivers whose poor safety record reflects their poor driving ability?  Or those survivors that have been impacted by inexperienced CDL drivers?  Newly proposed FMCSA regulations are attempting to rein in the inexperienced.

In March the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a proposed rule that would require mandatory training for new CDL drivers or those CDL drivers seeking an upgrade in license class.

The rule would require Class A applicants to have taken 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training while Class B applicants would need 15 hours.  All training must be through a FMCSA approved vendor listed on the Training Provider Registry.  The estimated implementation cost: $5.55 billion. So what’s the big deal?

Whether it was your father sitting next to you teaching you how to shift, or the “Behind the Wheel” component of your high school’s driver’s education classes, driver’s education has been around for decades.  Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t until 1973 that driver’s education was implemented for the sole purpose of roadway safety.

Many studies have followed evaluating the effectiveness of formal driver’s education.  A few will tout the outlier study which suggests those having attended formal driver’s education were more prone to crashes, but the vast majority of data suggests exactly the opposite: Educated and practiced drivers are safer drivers.

This isn’t an unreasonable conclusion to draw.  Look back to the second or third day following your first operation of the most complicated vehicle you currently operate; whether it be car, motorcycle, or commercial vehicle.  You were likely able to operate that vehicle just well enough to pass the Secretary of State’s tests.  You’re then handed a license to drive and off you go.

Many of you are saying, “but I’ve been perfectly fine since that time.”  The problem is: many are not.

An 80,000 lb commercial motor vehicle traveling on the roadway carries 20 times more the propensity for damage than a 4,000 lb car traveling the same speed.  Simply put, an unsafe Commercial Motor Vehicle driver is putting everyone else at risk, not just themselves.

In a day in age where billions and trillions are thrown around like dollars and cents, 5.55 billion dollars is still a tough pill to swallow.

That comes out to $17 for every man, woman and child throughout these United States.  Instead, consider the enormity of the cost society bears due to inexperienced drivers: vehicle damage, personal injuries, medical care, or even medical malpractice and the use of a San Antonio medical negligence attorneys could be a good option for this. Even litigation.

It may be undetermined how much of a difference a 15 or 30-hour course will make and whether taxpayers and consumers are willing to bear the cost.  Given the research, it certainly seems like a step in the right direction.  Is your jury still out?


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