Department of Transportation Publishes Three Important Notices This Week

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1. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) establishing minimum training requirements for Entry-Level Drivers Published on Monday, March 7.

On Monday, March 7 the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published its long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) establishing minimum training requirements for Entry Level Drivers. The NPRM will require all future driver trainees for Class A & B CDLs, and certain endorsements, to complete a structured training program from a training provider registered and approved by the FMCSA. Each approved provider's program must teach curriculum topics as outlined in the NPRM, and teach range and road behind the wheel (BTW) portions prior to sitting for the CDL skills exam. While the BTW portion requires a minimum of 30 BTW hours, each student is ultimately judged on their individual performance or outcome by a certified BTW instructor. Therefore, while some students will be able to execute specific skills within this time frame, others will not. As such, the school and instructor will certify a student only when he or she is able to demonstrate the necessary skills proficiency.

CVTA schools are already teaching the required subjects and teaching more BTW hours than required by this NPRM. While this rule will have little to no impact on CVTA schools or other quality training programs, which maintain high standards, this NPRM is a win for safety and for quality training providers. We believe that requiring all future CDL holders to have training as outlined in this NPRM, will make our highways safer. We will be doing all that we can to ensure the NPRM is finalized in the form as written and agreed to by all 26 members of the ELDTAC.

2. Notice of Application for Exemption from Bond Requirement for Third-Party CDL Testers Submitted by Idaho Transportation Department Published on Wednesday, March 9.

On Wednesday, March 9, FMCSA published a notice and request for comments regarding an application for exemption from the FMCSA’s requirement that Third-Party CDL Testers initiate and maintain a bond in an amount determined by the state. This bond is meant to cover the costs of any re-testing of drivers should the third party tester or any of its examiners be found to have been involved in fraudulent activities related to conducting CDL skills tests. This application for exemption was submitted by the Idaho Transportation Department (IDT). The IDT argues, among other things, that this bond obligation creates an unnecessary financial hardship in light of the fact that their Third-Party CDL examiners only conduct a few CDL tests each month and earn only $60 per test. ITD also notes that the State of Idaho’s Third-Party Testing organizations have had no instances of fraud. ITD also notes that it continues to use the Commercial Skills Test Management System (CSTIMS) to monitor CDL skills test examiners. Comments must be submitted on or before April 8, 2016. To view this notice in its entirety, click here.

3. Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Obstructive Sleep Apnea Published on Thursday, March 10.

On Thursday, March 10, the FMCSA (in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration) also published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in which it requests data and information regarding (1) the prevalence of moderate-to-severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) among individuals occupying safety sensitive positions in highway and rail transportation and (2) the potential consequences of OSA’s prevalence for the safety of rail and highway transportation.

As many of you know, there has been enormous confusion surrounding how medical examiners should screen drivers for OSA. This confusion has caused countless healthy drivers to pay hundreds of dollars for additional OSA tests – and to have their licenses revoked or suspended absent their ability to pay for these tests.

The publication of this advanced rulemaking marks the first step towards creating a sleep apnea rule for the trucking industry which could clarify this ongoing confusion. Comments regarding this rule must be submitted on or before June 8, 2016. To read the notice in its entirety, click here.

If you have any questions about the above notices, please contact Alice Smith, CVTA’s Director of Government Affairs, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 703.642.9444, ext. 104.

News from Capitol Hill

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Acting Secretary of Education Testifies Before Senate Appropriation Committee

Today, Acting Secretary of Education John King testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss the President’s FY 2017 Budget request. One of the topics that the Acting Secretary addressed was Accreditation. Mr. King stated that Accreditors have not done enough to be transparent. In response to this lack of transparency, Mr. King said he will attempt to use the Department’s existing authority to improve Accreditor accountability, but he said that he believes there should be legislation to draw a more direct line between the Department of Education and Accreditors to increase accountability.

Additionally, Mr. King also faced criticism about so called “Dear Colleague” letters and their precedent setting nature. While “Dear Colleague” letters are non-binding and intended to provide guidance on particular technical matters, many institutions believe they are binding precedent. Senator James Lankford (R-OK) engaged Mr. King citing that while he says these letters are non-binding, they are effectively treated as law or regulation. Senator Lankford cited an instances where institutions are cited in violation of Department regulations, but in reality they are only disagreeing with the “Dear Colleague” letter guidance. The Senator suggested that if this is the case, regulations must be created via the rulemaking process. The Acting Secretary said that he would be happy to follow up with the Senator on this matter.
To view this hearing, please click here.

Upcoming Hearings

House Appropriations Committee, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education

Tuesday March 14, 2016 10:00 AM
Budget Hearing – Department of Labor
The Honorable Thomas E. Perez, Secretary, Department of Labor
2358-C Rayburn

Senate Commerce Committee

Wednesday March 15, 2016 2:30 p.m.
Hands Off: The Future of Self-Driving Cars


  • Dr. Chris Urmson, Director of Self-Driving Cars, Google X
  • Mr. Mike Ableson, Vice President for Program Management, General Motors
  • Mr. Glen DeVos, Vice President, Global Engineering and Services, Electronics and Safety, Delphi Automotive
  • Mr. Joseph Okpaku, Vice President of Government Relations, Lyft
  • Dr. Mary (Missy) Louise Cummings, Director, Humans and Autonomy Lab and Duke Robotics, Duke University

House Education & Workforce Committee Hearing

Thursday March 16, 2016 10:00 AM
"Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Labor"
The Honorable Thomas Perez, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor
2175 Rayburn House Office Building.

CVTA Takes the Hill

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by John Diab, Chairman of CVTA’s Legislative-Regulatory Committee

2016 Hill DayLast week, 22 CVTA members gathered in Washington, D.C. for CVTA’s 2016 Hill Day. As one of the 11 participants of CVTA’s very first Hill Day just three years ago, I was thrilled to see that CVTA has doubled its number of Hill Day participants in such a short time.  More important, over half of those who came were first-time participants.

In total, CVTA was able to meet with over 50 members of Congress in just one day on Capitol Hill. Many of these offices had never heard about CVTA, what our members do, or the value our schools and carriers bring to their districts.  Armed with CVTA’s talking points and “real world” experiences, CVTA members focused their meetings on how our commercial driver training schools are training individuals with the skills they need to begin a new and promising career. We also educated lawmakers about the driver training shortage that impacts the carriers our nation’s economy depends upon. 

Following this overview of what we do, we outlined what we’ve been doing in Washington to remove unnecessary barriers that keep new drivers from accessing quality training, scheduling CDL tests without delay, and exiting schools with the ability to begin working immediately. We also educated lawmakers about how important it is that trucking be recognized as an “in-demand” profession for purposes of workforce grants. We then asked lawmakers to support us whenever we move forward with bill language that would require all CDL examiners to hold a CDL, and invited lawmakers to visit a CVTA campus or carrier in their district.

This year’s Hill Day was an incredible success. In a single day, we educated nearly 50 key lawmakers about who CVTA is, the value that our schools and carriers bring to their districts through jobs and job training, and what these lawmakers can do to help our businesses and students. Through these conversations, we were also able to build on old relationships with congressional staff and create new ones. Not only do these relationships help to build CVTA’s brand in Washington, but these are also the relationships that our Association depends upon when seeking legislative changes that will benefit our membership.

As I look back at CVTA’s legislative accomplishments over the past few years – particularly our skills testing delays language in the Highway Bill – I am reminded that these accomplishments have been a direct result of the willingness of our members to roll up their sleeves and come out to Washington to tell their lawmakers about what CVTA members need to continue providing jobs and job training in each of these lawmakers’ districts. I want to express my sincere thanks to everyone who dedicated their time and resources to making this event special.

I hope that all of you will consider joining us for this important event next year.


CVTA wishes to thank the Sponsors without whom this event would not happen.

covenent Covenant Transport
Rob Hatchett
Comcar Comcar Industries
Dan McNamee
Dart Transit Dart Transit Company
Shane Johnson
Lancer_logo.jpg Lancer Insurance
Steven O’Shea
Comcar Thompson Coburn LLP
Ken Salomon
Aaron Lacey

Why You Need to Attend the Upcoming Conference.

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Jamie Sather, Chairman, Conference Committee

Attending a conference for CVTA is more than just an information gathering. It is a very important aspect and concrete activity that solidifies the membership and more importantly allows each participant to offer new ideas for training and the trucking industry.

I have been involved with CVTA since the beginning of its formation starting in 1996. I have held various committee positions on the board.  My responsibilities include or have included being Treasurer and Vice-Chairman of this organization.

Our goals individually and collectively are to “raise the bar” for training within the trucking industry. These goals more importantly are to create a major network for all trucking schools to benefit from CVTA’s input to create more efficient and better qualified schools and professional drivers.

One goal through networking is to afford trucking schools to benefit from new procedures and formats that have been created by established schools, (i.e.) class formats, administrative procedures and improved teaching methods among other activities.

Besides the two conferences that are held for the membership each calendar year there are a number of telephone conference calls that allow the committee members to exchange current ideas, obtain new information, discuss current agenda and to vote on the agenda issues.

My past experiences with CVTA have allowed me to see a different prospective of the trucking industry and associated factors thru the eyes and thoughts of the membership. CVTA is a strong and very important asset to this transportation industry that has evolved within these great borders of the United States. We as a professional organization see and sense the growing need for change within the trucking industry. These changes can only occur with a strong membership and with a concerned foresight of what is needed to continue a positive direction to better the trucking schools and the individuals that they teach.

Trucking moves this great country and we need to continue to be the driving force in front, behind and more importantly right in the truck itself to make this force the best that we can through CVTA.

Electronic Logging Devices: What Schools Need to Know

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Brian Stout, Transportation Compliance Services USA

The latest DOT regulations mandating Electronic Logging Devices (ELD’s) have generated more rumor, interpretation, speculation, and concern than any other Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulation in recent memory. These new regulations should not come as a shock to anyone in the transportation industry because some version of this has been anticipated for nearly a decade. However, as the date approached for a more finalized version, rumors began to surface about who would be regulated, what weight class would be affected, and what would be exempted.

Now that the 126-page final rule has been published in the Federal Register, and we see that the Phase 1 effective date of February 16, 2016 has come and gone, questions and mystery still remain, and thus, calls and questions continue to roll into our office.

Let’s take a minute to briefly discuss how ELDs will affect CDL schools.

Electronic Logging Devices

The new ELD regulations in the FMCSR’s do not change who is subject to the FMCSR’s hours of service (HOS) requirements (Part 395). The current ruling just adds some additional stipulations to this part that establishes the mandatory use and definition of ELDs, sets minimum performance and design standards, identifies supporting documentation and retention, and addresses concerns regarding harassment of drivers using ELD’s.

Essentially, with a few exceptions, if you are required to complete a paper log book now, you will be required to implement ELDs. The only exemptions that have been released to date that may be different than usual HOS exemptions are for:

  • any CMV’s older than model year 2000;
  • drivers conducting drive away/tow away operations as a delivery of a CMV; or
  • drivers using paper logs for 8 days or less a month (30 days).

These exemptions are limited to the ELD requirement only; these drivers are still bound by the records of duty status (RODS) requirements in 49 CFR Part 395.

How Does This Affect CDL Schools?

The question that is most frequently asked from CDL schools regarding DOT compliance requirements is, primarily, “Are we regulated, and to what extent?”  The answer is yes, but depends on your particular circumstances.  The particulars of your operations are very important in the analysis. Specifically, the question must be addressed from two perspectives: federal and state.

For the purposes of this question, we will assume that all of the commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) used by CDL schools are over 26,000 lbs Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), even though the regulations can identify a CMV in other ways. If the school is engaged in operating a private fleet (non-government) that is crossing state lines, they are subject to the rules and regulations found in the FMCSRs. Even if your school’s students are not crossing state lines with their CMVs, they will still be subject to certain requirements of the FMCSRs. However, generally speaking, most schools can claim an exemption from using paper logs and ultimately ELD’s  if they operate their CDL classes inside of a 100 air mile radius from their base of operations and if their drivers/instructors/students return to and are released from duties within 12 hours.

As a reminder, just because a school or student may be exempted from regulations regarding ELDs, they are likely responsible for other requirements such as CDL licensing requirements, driver qualification, drug and alcohol testing, and more. Why? Because nearly every state has adopted either some or all of the federal FMCSR’s for their own intra-state laws.  Moreover, even though the GVWR minimum threshold varies from state to state, all states consider the 26,001 lb GVWR weight class to be a commercial motor vehicle and will enforce some combination of federal and local standards. Depending on the state, this may include things such as driver qualification standards, vehicle maintenance procedures, registration requirements, accident policies and corrective action, and others including yes, hours of service (HOS) and now ELDs.

In our next article, we will discuss the other two phases of enforcement and the most frequently asked questions regarding ELDs. It is important to note that many state and federal auditors and investigators still have not been fully trained on the enforcement of these new regulations, both for roadside and on-site reviews. Since every company/school has their own unique set of procedures and types of operations, exercise caution before making any sizeable investments or operational decisions regarding ELDs.

If you have specific questions regarding ELDs or other FMCSA regulations and how they apply to your situation, please do not hesitate to contact any of our TCS Certified Compliance Specialists (CCS) for a more customized approach to your concerns at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 877-CMV-REGS.

Notice of Elections

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We greatly encourage all members in good standing to run for the Board. Six Board of Director seats are up for election (2 School, 2 Motor Carrier, and 2 Associate).

This is a great opportunity to work with your industry colleagues. We have made the Board election process a simple one. To view the official notice and understand how Board members are elected, please click here. To fill out an Applicant Statement, please click here. After completing the Applicant Statement, please email to Cindy Atwood (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), or fax 703-642-5399. The deadline for applications is March 15th.  We will post all applicant statements on our website and the election will be held during the business meeting at the 2016 Spring Conference in San Juan, PR.. Newly elected Directors' terms will begin at the 2016 Fall Conference and last two years.

If you have a specific question regarding the experience serving as a Director, please contact Lou Spoonhour, Chairman of the Nominations Committee, at 219-743-6272. For all other questions, please call the CVTA office at 703-642-9444.

CVTA to the Rescue

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By Aimee Napier, Napier Truck Driving Training

As a CVTA member for 13 years, I have relied upon the association to help solve problems when they arise. Generally, I am able to solve most problems on my own. However, sometimes I am not. Two weeks ago I was facing a nightmare scenario that I am happy to say was resolved because of my membership in CVTA. I am writing to all CVTA members to let them know the value of being a member in CVTA, but more important, to urge members to reach out and seek guidance if they ever face a similar scenario as I did.

Ohio is in the process of changing its Workforce system from the old WIA system to the new WIOA system. In this transition, Ohio requires all eligible training providers to fill out a set of new forms and be approved by the State. After completing my forms, I received an email that I had been denied. Since 1995 our school has trained thousands of students who come through the Workforce Program and we maintain a 94% placement rate for those students. I was baffled. When I reached out to contact the state, I learned we were denied because when we filled out the form, we were not accredited by an accreditor on the list. No matter how I tried to reason with gentleman with who I spoke, I got nowhere.

With frustration and fear setting in, I reached out to CVTA to inquire about this matter and seek their guidance on it. CVTA sprang into action for us. After reviewing the state forms, looking at the WIOA law, talking with the state officials to determine the problem, CVTA was able to connect us to the Governor’s office and to help identify the breakdown in the workforce process. The State’s form, which listed accreditors, failed to capture those programs that were also authorized and overseen by other state agencies and departments. Therefore, while some in the workforce department interpreted that a school had to be accredited in the formal, term of art sense, in order to qualify, CVTA help point out that the letter and intent of the new workforce law never intended to bar successful programs like ours to from operating. Allowing Napier and other quality programs to become eligible training providers to align training and jobs in high demand industries, like trucking, will continue to allow programs with a record of success to continue delivering this success.

CVTA advised the State to revise its criteria and approve programs that are overseen by other agencies and departments. I am happy to report that within days of raising this issue to CVTA, and through their help by conducting outreach with the Governor’s office, we were approved. While I hope your school will never have to undergo an experience like mine, but if you do, my advice is to reach out to CVTA to see if they can help. Because of CVTA’s quick action, the matter was resolved and CVTA has once again come to my rescue. A job well done!