Training Standards for New Truck Drivers—The DOT Needs to Act!


The Public Citizen Litigation Group is involved in a lawsuit against the Department of Transportation to compel the agency to issue a rule outlining training standards for entry level truck drivers. The agency has been dragging its heels on a process that should have been completed by 1993. Adina Rosenbaum of Public Citizen discusses the lawsuit in this report.

Adina Rosenbaum

Adina Rosenbaum

Rosenbaum says that the standard is long overdue, over twenty years and another congressional mandate later. There are a host of issues, including such things as switching lanes and backing up, that are unique to these large trucks that automobile drivers will not understand.

When the agency actually passed a rule in 2004, it concerned a number of things that had no relationship to truck driving—things like health and wellness and whistle blower issues. There are requirements to get a commercial license, but there is no requirement for behind-the-wheel training, which would seem to be essential for anyone who aspires to drive a semi-trailer rig.

Since 2010, there has been a serious increase in accidents involving large trucks, including increases in serious injuries and deaths. The cost to society has been estimated at $100 billion annually. The agency’s ruling is needed to help alleviate these problems. Rosenbaum says that about 4,000 people die each year in accidents involving the big trucks, and 100,000 people are injured. Better training for new drivers is an obvious first step in solving the problem.

The next step in the lawsuit, Rosenbaum explains, will be for the appellate court to require the DOT to respond to the petition. And, she hopes, to issue the training ruling.

Adina H. Rosenbaum is an attorney at the Public Citizen Litigation Group, in Washington, D.C., where she has worked since September 2004. Ms. Rosenbaum's practice areas include consumer law and safety, access to justice, federal preemption, administrative law, open government, and Supreme Court and appellate litigation. In connection with her practice, Ms. Rosenbaum has testified before a congressional subcommittee and has been interviewed by television, radio, and print media outlets. She has taught appellate advocacy at a local law school and served on the D.C. Bar Administrative Law and Agency Practice Section’s steering committee. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group