News

Congressman Steve Russell (R-OK) Visits American Truck Training, Inc. in Oklahoma City

on .

As part of our ongoing effort to build relationships with key lawmakers on Capitol Hill, CVTA runs a campus tours program, in which we invite lawmakers to visit a CVTA school in their district. These visits educate them on how commercial drivers are trained and how the industry works to get students good jobs.

This is precisely what Jerome Redmond, President of American Truck Training, did when he was on Capitol Hill for CVTA’s Hill Day last month. As you can see below, Congressman Steve Russell accepted Jerome’s invitation and visited American Truck Training’s campus in Oklahoma City last week.

Jerome said the visit provided him with an opportunity to speak with the Congressman directly regarding problems relating to CDL testing inconsistencies and the need to expand third-party testing in the State. An invaluable opportunity to say the least!

CVTA’s Campus Tours Program is designed to connect CVTA members with legislators so that our member schools can educate and build strong relationships with lawmakers. These tours help lawmakers understand just how important CVTA member schools are to their districts, to motor carriers, and beyond. Tours provide real life examples of how driver training schools are able to connect individuals with the skills they need to obtain well-paying jobs that are in-demand across the country and crucial to the economy.

We hope you will consider participating in CVTA’s campus tours program this August and will follow-up as the summer approaches. If you have any questions about the program, please contact Alice Smith at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Taking Membership Service to the Next Level

on .

By Larry Marsh, Chairman, Member Services Committee

The Member Services committee is primarily responsible for overseeing CVTA’s Instructor Certification Program (ICP) and also overseeing additional programs and services which enrich a CVTA Members’ experience in our Association. Our committee has been doing a lot of work behind the scenes that I think will serve all members moving forward.

ICP Update

Since last year, the Committee has been reviewing our current ICP program’s content and delivery method.  While the content is still very relevant, the committee believes that our members deserve fresh content delivered via an on-line format. To this end, we are in negotiations to update the ICP program. Our mission remains to provide our schools and instructors with a first class training program to improve their teaching skills, which embraces the latest content and presentation.   

We have asked ten Senior Master Instructors to review the first 10 courses of the prospective new ICP content. Once the instructors complete their evaluation, we will then review the results of the evaluations to determine if this new content should replace our current ICP program.  At this point, we are optimistic we have a viable program that will meet the needs of your school and your instructors.  

I would like to thank those instructors who have volunteered to evaluate the courses, in advance. It is a time consuming and important job.

Roundtables and Best Practices

CVTA will once again conduct it “Roundtables” session at the Spring Conference in San Juan, PR. For those who didn’t participate last time, the Roundtable are interactive sessions where members get together to engage one another on diverse set of topics. For example, it will ask school, motor carrier, and associate members to discuss a range of subjects from training, marketing, job placement, etc. This was a big hit in Memphis and numerous members told me that it was the best session of the conference. We will again be conducting the Roundtable sessions in San Juan, but it will be slightly more focused.

The purpose of the Roundtables is to identify those best practices and publish these best practices later this fall. Our members have a great deal of expertise and experience to better aid all institutions, training, safety, and most importantly, our students. In this effort, I encourage members, who are willing to lend their expertise, to participate in the creation of the Best Practices. Specifically, the Best Practices to specifically address issues which they are seeing, problems, opportunities, but also ask specific details on the following topics to identify best practices. The topics are:

  • Accounting/Finance
  • Admissions/Recruiting
  • IT
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • HR/Legal/Compliance
  • Safety Awareness
  • Community Relations/PR
  • Instruction and Assessment
  • Career Services/Placement

We are in the process of forming subcommittees to discuss the above issues. If you have suggestions for the committee to consider, or if you are willing to help serve on a subcommittee, please let Don or Cindy know.

During our Roundtable sessions at the Spring Conference we would like to focus a portion of the discussion on three of the nine areas:  Instruction/Assessment, Career Services, and Admissions/Recruitment. We will be sending detailed questions so all participants can think through the questions and provide meaningful input.   

We look forward to a great conference in San Juan and great ideas from the round table discussions for the “Best Practices”.

Rulemaking Summaries

on .

(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. If you are thinking about commenting or have any questions about this proposed rule, please contact CVTA staff. To view the notice in its entirety, please click here.

(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.

(4) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend its Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) regulations for certain military personnel.

On March 16, the FMCSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) which proposes to extend the time period for applying for a skills test waiver from 90 days to 1 year after leaving a military position requiring the operation of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV).

The FMCSA believes this NPRM would ease the current burdens on military personnel applying for CLPs and CDLs issued by a State Driver Licensing Agency (SDLA) in accordance with 49 CFR parts 383 and 384 in two ways. First, it would extend the time in which former military personnel are allowed to apply for a skills test waiver from the 90 days currently allowed by 49 CFR 383.77 to 1 year. On July 8, 2014, FMCSA issued a temporary exemption under 49 CFR part 381 that extended the skills test waiver to 1 year [79 FR 38659]. [1] The change proposed by this rulemaking would make the 1-year waiver period permanent. Second, this NPRM would allow States to accept applications and administer all necessary tests for a CLP or CDL from active duty service members stationed in that State who are operating in a Military Occupational Specialty as full-time CMV drivers. States that choose to exercise this option would be required to transmit the application and test results electronically to the service member's State of domicile. This would enable service members to complete their licensing requirements without incurring the time and expense of returning home. The State of domicile would be required to issue the CLP or CDL in accordance with otherwise applicable procedures.

Comments are due on or before May 16, 2016. To read the notice in its entirety, click here.

Department of Transportation Publishes Three Important Notices This Week

on .

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

on .

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

Witnesses:

  • 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

on .

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.


HILL DAY SPONSORS

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

covenent Covenant Transport
Rob Hatchett
423-463-3013
Comcar Comcar Industries
Dan McNamee
800-828-9827
Dart Transit Dart Transit Company
Shane Johnson
651-683-1422
Lancer_logo.jpg Lancer Insurance
Steven O’Shea
800-782-8902
Comcar Thompson Coburn LLP
Ken Salomon
202-585-6900
Aaron Lacey
314-552-6405