Nebraska Trucking Association sounds off about new federal truck driver requirements

Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 4:35 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Drivers who handle the big rigs are held to a higher standard. The goal of the federal requirements is to ensure safety on the highways.

Kent Grisham is the President and CEO of the Nebraska Trucking Association. Grisham says he understands and supports safer highways but he says the new regulations will affect every entry-level driver looking for a CDL at a time when there’s a shortage of truck drivers.

“This isn’t just about the commercial truck driver who hauling freight down the highway from state to state. This is about the school districts who have to have school bus operators, this is about the refuse companies, the ones who are collecting your trash,” said Grisham.

The new requirement could pose a problem in Nebraska. Officials say there are not enough instruction sites in the state.

“But now with the ELDT effect, they will be required to go through these minimum training opportunities before they’re allowed to take the test.”

CDL training schools have to register and self certify along with instructions. One of the changes calls for a program of theory, basically a classroom portion of the CDL progress that didn’t exist before.

Raul Soria is the Director of Safety for Hill Brothers Transportation. He tells 6 News there is a huge demand for truck drivers and there are people who want to fill those jobs but there are not enough training centers in the area to meet the demand and the new federal requirement will make matters worse.

“Certifications has been there now the extra step or layer that has been added is the federal certification process where these schools and training providers self certify the federal level, they conduct all the training that is required, the only things that different is the federal government creating an outline of what that training needs to be,” said Soria.

Soria says that could cause a logjam of applicants and add to another logjam we are already dealing with.

“And so another aspect that will limit our ability to hire those individuals will impact the supply chain not just for us but for other motor carriers or anybody that’s moving freight needing qualified drivers to do so.”

The Nebraska Drivers Trucking Association has set up a website where those applying for a CDL can take the theories part of the exam online. They hope that will help speed up the progress.

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