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Important truck safety rule delayed in regulatory freeze

We all know that large commercial trucks can be extremely dangerous to other motorists, particularly at the high speeds seen on freeways. That danger only increases when the truck's driver is inexperienced and unfamiliar with the truck's handling and limitations. How can the industry ensure that only adequately experienced drivers are licensed to handle these massive machines?

Entry-level driving requirements have concerned safety experts for decades. But, not surprisingly, progress toward a safer standard has been slow. Days ago, the issue was delayed even further. The federal government has put off implementation of a new standard in accordance with the Trump administration's regulatory freeze -- despite industry-wide support for the rule.

A federal regulation called the "Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators" was originally published in December of 2016. According to Land Line Magazine, its implementation was recently delayed to May 22, 2017.

The rule sets minimum training standards for entry-level commercial drivers that include both a classroom component and behind-the-wheel training - with different requirements for different classes of licenses. It also establishes a registry of trainers approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

What about new truck drivers getting behind the extra-large wheel for the first time in the interim? They'll continue to be held to the old standards, which many safety organizations believe are insufficient.

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