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New truck driver training starting in 2020

For truck drivers in Oklahoma and around the country who receive their commercial driver's licenses on or after Feb. 7, 2020, a new training rule will be in place. The rule took effect on June 5, but it allows almost three years before compliance is necessary. It was delayed for five months by an ordered regulatory review from the Trump administration.

Applicants will be required to get their training from a registry of trainers approved and maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA will ensure that the trainers meet its standards and will certify them. The rule also sets up a core curriculum for applicants and a behind-the-wheel training requirement.

Controversially, the FMCSA dropped the minimum number of hours requirement for behind-the-wheel training. The minimum of 30 hours that appeared in the original version of the year was widely supported in the industry, and some are lobbying to have it reinstated.

Unfortunately, even with safety training, truck accidents will still occur. Some of those accidents will be the result of driver error including driving while fatigued, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding or distracted by a cellphone. In other cases, the accident may occur because of equipment failure. The result for occupants of other vehivles may be catastrophic injuries. This could be costly, and the people who are injured might be unable to work while they are recovering. Both the driver and the trucking company might be liable in such an accident. If the offer from the insurance company is insufficient to cover the expenses of the injured victims, including medical bills, vehicle repair, and lost wages from work, a civil lawsuit filed with the assistance of an attorney may be an option.

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