Better Trained Drivers Means Safer Roads, Less Churn: OOIDA

GRAIN VALLEY, MO — The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has launched a new campaign to address the lack of basic training standards for new truck drivers.

The lack of basic training standards is a problematic issue that goes beyond the skill level of new drivers, OOIDA stressed. It’s one that contributes to highway safety and industry turnover rates.

While new drivers must pass a commercial drivers license (CDL) test, OOIDA says it only covers basic operations, but does not address many on-the-road demands that long-haul drivers face.

The new campaign, titled “Truckers For Safety,” hopes to help prepare the next generation of long-haul truck drivers.

“Better trained drivers mean safer drivers,” says OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “An experienced career trucker is the type that people want to share the road with, and our members tell us that training should be the biggest focus of highway safety efforts.”

It also contributes to driver churn, according to OOIDA, in that experienced truckers with safe driving records are frequently replaced by new drivers with no experience or training, who are then replaced themselves by newer drivers months later.

But high turnover is just one of the many consequences.

“This churn results in more accidents, which in turn will lead to greater congestion, more fuel use, lost cargoes and greater inefficiency in our nation’s freight transportation network,” says Spencer.

OOIDA said it has also noticed that over the last few years, “many training programs have been focused on guaranteeing new drivers their CDLs quickly instead of ensuring they will be trained and knowledgeable truckers.”

“We can and must do better to make trucking once again a career that people want to join and stay in as a way to provide for their families,” says Spencer. “If we do not, the consequences will mean lower economic prosperity, reduced highway safety, and negative impacts for all highway users.”

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