FMCSA issues new driver rules for longer rigs

FMCSA issues new driver rules for longer rigs

WASHINGTON -- Commercial truck drivers who want to operate double and triple trucks -- so-called longer combination vehicles -- will need to meet new requirements released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Wednesday.

The FMCSA also published new rules that will require companies to review the driving records of applicants before they can be hired as commercial truck drivers. Potential employers will also have the right to review driver candidates' professional driving safety records.

The hiring rule also requires prior employers to provide up to three year's worth of employment records to a potential new employer.

Under the longer combination vehicle requirements, motor carriers are prohibited from allowing drivers to operate double or triple trailers until they have the specified training. The rules call for driving and non-driving activities, such as route planning and checking cargo and weight.

Due to the differences between double- and triple-truck operating characteristics, the FMCSA issued two separate rules with different requirements. The rules call for six months of experience driving trucks weighing at least 26,001 pounds to qualify for double-trailer training; and six months of truck-tractor/semi-trailer or twin-trailer driving to qualify for triple-trailer training.

Motor carriers will be able to waive driver-training requirements for current longer combination vehicle drivers who have safe driving records and at least two years' experience.

The rules also cover driver instructors, classroom instructors and skills instructors.