We were in full support of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's rule that required truck driving schools to send trainees to third-party instructors for skills testing. Objectivity, we believe, is critical in maintaining the integrity of truck driver training.
So we were somewhat disappointed when word came down earlier this week that the FMCSA - responding to objections by the American Trucking Association - reversed the rule. Beginning April 24, states can begin allowing truck driving schools to conduct skills-testing of the drivers they trained.
The new rule does stipulate that the skills-testing must be conducted by a different instructor at the school, but we were much more in favor of the previous rule that required an outside source to evaluate a driver's skill set.
The ATA objected two years ago to the rule, contending that requiring drivers to be skills-tested by third-party evaluators was burdensome.
Maybe they were right.
But in striving to maintain safer highways, a "burdensome" requirement seems a small price to pay. There are conflicts of interest to consider when we allow training schools to make pass-fail decisions while simultaneously concerning themselves with the business implications of those decisions.
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