Under federal law, a longer combination vehicle (LCV) is any combination of a truck-tractor and two or more semi-trailers or trailers operating on the Interstate Highways at a gross vehicle weight greater than 80,000 pounds. LCVs only operate under special permit on designated highways in several states and on certain toll roads.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has regulations requiring training for operators of LCVs. Motor carriers who employ drivers of LCVs must, by law, maintain copies of their LCV Driver-Training Certificates and make the certificates available upon request to federal, state, and local officials.

Like other FMCSA paperwork requirements, these LCV Driver-Training Certificates are the subject of an Information Collection Request (ICR). As with all ICRs, agencies must re-open approved ICRs for comment and renewal at least once every three years. FMCSA now seeks public comment on the cost and time required, and continued necessity for, LCV Driver-Training Certificates. Comments on this ICR are due by Dec. 12, 2022

Even for motor carriers who do not operate LCVs, this ICR should be a timely reminder: Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) classes, endorsements, and training requirements differ by type of truck and cargo. Having the right driver in the right truck is a common-sense safety step. It’s so basic that it is part of the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICS), called Driver Fitness, in the FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.

FMCSA uses the seven BASICs to evaluate motor carrier safety. To make that evaluation, FMCSA receives safety data from inspections conducted at roadside and at weigh stations, as well as from citations, post-crash analysis, and investigations. Under the Driver Fitness BASIC, enforcement officers will review driver licenses and CDL endorsements during roadside inspections and issue citations for any violation, such as expired licenses or lack of appropriate CDL endorsement for the vehicle combination or cargo.

The Driver Qualification Files at the motor carrier should include all that information for each driver. It should be a simple matter for carrier management to create a list of currently qualified drivers by vehicle combination type and cargo (e.g., hazmat, fluids) and then keep the list updated as they renew those licenses and endorsements. Fleets should provide that list to dispatchers and carrier safety personnel to prevent improper driver assignment. And carriers should use the list should to generate reminders to drivers when renewal dates approach.

It should be so simple, but for some reason, it’s not happening. A look at Roadcheck results shows “wrong class license” in the top three driver out-of-service violations each of the last four years . Clearly, it’s time to get more “basic” about having the right driver in the right truck. Perhaps the ICR on LCV Driver-Training Certificates can remind all motor carriers to get their Driver Qualification Files in order and properly match drivers with vehicle combination and cargo type.


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