A Brief Summary of the STRR Act

on .

A brief summary of the STRR Act’s most relevant sections is below.

1) Skills Testing Delays

Skill Testing Delays Report

Managers Amendment

The House version included a provision which would require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to issue a report on skills testing delays in the states. Specifically, the provision requires the report to include each state’s:

  • Average testing times, by location and month, from when an individual requests a skills test and when they actually sit for the exam;
  • Average retest times, by location and month, from when an individual requests a skills retest and when they actually sit for the exam;
  • The number of examiners employed, by location and month, in each state;
  • The number of testing locations and whether this number has increased or decreased from the past year.

Most importantly, the report also requires the FMCSA’s Administrator to describe specific steps he is taking to address test and retest delays of longer than 7 days.

Commercial Driver’s License Program Implementation

Sec. 5104

This provision establishes authorizes the Department of Transportation to administer a financial assistance program for commercial driver’s license program implementation. The Secretary may make a grant to a state agency:

  • To assist the state in complying with the section 31311 (49 U.S.C. § 31311 “Requirements for State participation”)
  • To improve the state’s implementation of its CDL program, including expenses:
    • For computer hardware and software;
    • For publications, testing, personnel, training, and quality control;
    • For CDL program coordinators;
    • Notification system to employers of suspension or revocation of CDLs.

(2) Entry-Level Driver Training Standards (ELDT)

Entry-Level Driver Training

Sec. 5301

The bill contains a provision which requires the Secretary of Transportation to explain why the ELDT rulemaking deadline has not been met (as established by law) if it is not promulgated within 30 days of enactment of the bill. If the DOT does not meet or cannot meet the deadline within 30 days of determining the deadline cannot be met, the Secretary must report back to Congress and explain why it cannot meet the deadline.

(3) Federally Approved Drug Testing Options

Drug Free Commercial Drivers

Sec. 5402

Another provision that was included in the bill would allow motor carriers the option of using hair testing as an alternative to urinalysis testing for pre-employment drug testing. CVTA concern was if this provision had become mandatory, it would add additional costs to students and schools. CVTA worked with Members of Congress to ensure that such testing should not be mandatory and the provision ensures that motor carriers (which includes schools) should be considered an alternative choice, not a mandatory requirement. The provision adds hair testing as an alternative method while also recognizing the right to choice of preferred method.

(4) 19 ½ -Year-Old Drivers

Graduated Commercial Driver’s License Pilot Program

Sec. 5404

The bill contains a provision which establishes a Graduated Commercial Driver’s License Pilot Program for individuals ages 19 ½ - 21 years old. The task force will evaluate:

  • Specified length of time for a learner’s permit stage;
  • A requirement that those under 21 must be accompanied by someone older than 21;
  • A restriction on travel distances;
  • A restriction on allowable driving hours;
  • Mandatory driver training that exceeds the requirements for drivers over the age of 21 issued by the Secretary (ELDT);
  • Use of certain safety technologies in vehicles of drivers under the age of 21;
  • Any other element the task force considers appropriate.

Opportunities for Veterans

Sec. 5401

This provision amends current law and would:

  • exempt members of the Armed Forces from all or a portion of the driving test if the individual has experience in the military driving vehicles similar to a commercial motor vehicle;
  • ensure that such individuals may apply for an exemption of the driving test or portion of the test at least 1 year from separation from the military; and
  • credit the training and knowledge the individual received in the military if the individual has experience driving vehicles similar to a commercial motor vehicle.


Member Alert 10.21.2015

on .

Several of our members have received the following email:
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2015 8:00 AM
Hello and how are you today? Am making inquiry on your CDL(Commercial Driver's License) training program. We want to train 3 of our personnel on CDL because We are expanding our services to trucking & Freight services. 150 hours course work will be much better for their program. Kindly advise?
More Details:
1. Number Of Students: 3
2. Arrival Date: 20th November 2015
3. National: US Citizens
4. Age: 37, 40, & 41yrs.
Kindly respond with brief explanations on how to get them registered for the program. What is the Total costs for the training?
Sincerely Yours,
Maxwell Schmidtt

We believe this is a scam as they do not provide a phone number and do not have a website. We suggest you do not respond to their requests.

Millis Transfer Training Program Reviewed in Expedited Licensing Initiative for Military

on .


Reid Ransom
Millis Transfer
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Black River Falls, Wisconsin, September 30, 2015 - Millis Transfer Training Institute, as part of an initiative underway by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), and in conjunction with the Veteran's Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 (The VOW Act), is being recognized as one of the bridge programs in the Veterans' Licensing and Certification Demonstration Project, a federal program designed to help veterans expedite licensing required for employment.

“It is a great honor to help veterans transition quickly from their work in the military to a successful career in the transportation industry,” Reid Ransom, Millis Transfer Director of HR & Recruitment, said.

States participating in the fast track program for licensing for military applicants include: Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, Minnesota, Virginia, and Wisconsin. As part of the initiative, each state has the option to select up to three high demand occupations with licensing and credentialing requirements that correspond with one of three preselected military occupational specialties:

Medic (Army 68W, Navy Hospital Corpsman, Air Force 4N0X1),

Police (Army 31B, Navy Master-At-Arms, Air Force 3P0X1, Marine Corps 5811), and

Truck Driver (Army 88M, Marine Corps 3531).

The interim report, detailing the outcomes of the initiative, consists of an introduction, design overview, implementation recommendations, general data and assessment as well as a cost study. The first four sections provide a comprehensive picture of demonstration activities and offer a common framework for sharing lessons learned with other states interested in replicating these strategies. A cost study is also included to show the savings to federal programs when a veteran completes an accelerated pathway towards licensing versus duplicate training under a full length pathway.

Chad Stallard, a driver for Millis Transfer, based out of North Carolina, was a police officer in the military and for the community where he lives, when he met someone who encouraged him to sign with Millis Transfer’s driver training school, Millis Training Institute (MTI).

“When I did my research on the company, I found their program was much better than any other training program for veterans,” he said. “Class size is small and that enables instructors to spend a lot of one-on-one time with students, more than a mega company would do.”

Stallard, who has been in the military for 23 years, is still serving. He has literally done it all. “I've worked for the United Nations. I've also worked as a Customs Border Agent,” he said. “Along with that, I have served in a number of different military branches that include the Navy, Navy Reserve, Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard.”

He continued, “Truck driving was something I always wanted to do. That was my reason for pursuing it. The experience so far has been good.”

A mixed martial arts fighter, Stallard says when he is not in the truck, he spends his time in the gym.

“I'm lucky I work for Millis Transfer. They are a great company and an excellent choice for military members looking to drive a truck,” he said.

Another military driver, Johnathan Williams, says choosing Millis Transfer was one of the best decisions he made. Williams is an Army veteran, who worked as a fueler in the Truck Driving Unit. “The military was a good place to start my career,” he said. “I think it is a great way to make money and it is one of those careers where you don't have someone standing over your shoulder all day. I really like that about this industry.”

Williams, who drives regional, speaks highly of the training process at MTI and isn't surprised the company is being recognized in the federal initiative to expedite licensing for truck drivers. “Millis Transfer taught me a lot and I didn't have to be there a year,” he said. “This is a company that will get you in a truck faster than anyone out there and you will know how to drive it when you transport your first load.”

“Everyone says they are the best company out there,” he said. “I hear good things about Millis all the time. I'm glad I work here.”

About the Veterans' Licensing and Certification Demonstration Project

Findings of the interim report on military licensing requirements have been submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Office of Policy Development and Research and Veterans Employment Training Service. The NGA Center continues to carry out the Demonstration Project, which provides technical assistance, peer learning opportunities, and contacts with national experts. Through the help of this program, states develop and implement strategies to accelerate veterans licensing and certification, and the NGA Center documents and shares promising practices among those states on an ongoing basis. When completed, the NGA will provide a final report that includes a blueprint for other states.

About Millis Transfer

Mills Transfer, Getting It There Since 1936, has an impressive service record earning the company dozens of “Carrier of the Year” awards. Headquartered in Black River Falls, Wis., Millis Transfer is a Certified Top Pay Carrier with some of the best equipment on the road. Maintenance facilities and drop yards are strategically located throughout the company’s operating area. Its sister company, Millis Training Institute, offers five school locations that provide students with quality training in order to earn their CDL-A license.

Instructor Highlight - Karl Bona, NETTTS

on .

Karl-BonaCVTA is proud to highlight CVTA Senior Master Instructor Karl Bona with New England Tractor Trailer Training School (NETTTS). Karl has worked for NETTTS for the last twenty years.  He holds the honor of being CVTA’s first Instructor to hold the title of Senior Master Instructor.

Karl was drawn to the industry since he was a child.  He was a Professional Truck Driver from 1975-1990 hauling cars, milk and variety of other freight.  He loved the opportunity to see the country from the window of his truck cab.  Occasionally he still misses the pull of the open road, but now he loves training new drivers and sharing his experiences.

When CVTA first introduced the Instructor Certification Program in 2004, Karl was one of the first to sign up.  He felt it was an opportunity to gain knowledge and make himself a better instructor.  Karl is also a strong proponent of leading by example and felt, by completing the program, he could then encourage others to do so as well.

Karl feels a special relationship to trucking. Over the years, he has been able to buy two houses and raise two children.  When he is not teaching, Karl enjoys spending time with his children and grandson, hunting, and occasionally visiting the casino.  He also has a passion for rebuilding classic muscle cars, including a 1970 EL Camino, 1960 Camaro, and a Super Sport Chevelle. Karl is a great representative for CVTA, our Instructor Certification Program, and Trucking Industry.  We are pleased to have him as such an active member of CVTA.

Working Together to Improve Driver Safety

on .

Submitted by Ken Smith, Schneider

We all have a role in ensuring the safety of our fleets and the motoring public. Every day I’m reminded of that when I log onto my computer and I see “The Schneider Way” screen saver that lists our number one core value: Safety First and Always.

Schneider is a longtime supporter of CVTA Schools because of your graduates. We appreciate the training that is received and we encourage instructors to stress the need for continued education once your students become professional drivers.

As with many other carriers, Schneider is committed to making sure your graduates are as thoroughly prepared with our finishing programs. We are aware and know you have instilled in your graduates the responsibility that comes with safely operating 40 tons of vehicle and payload on the roadways we share with friends and family members.

Even upon graduating, a professional truck driver’s training is never done. Learning is never over. As with many other quality carriers, Schneider offers continuous education programs, including quarterly computer-based training. This focuses on safety trends and seasonal factors. At Schneider each driver is awarded his/her Annual Certification after the successful completion of the training.

As Instructors you can help us and have. The areas that we have noticed the most improvement in recent driver school graduates are the following:

  • Shifting
  • Slow maneuvers
  • Getting out and looking

Thank you for all that you do to help train an industry and for your commitment to safety. We have the same goals and it is an honor to work with the professional members of CVTA.

Schneider Safety Screen



Testimonial - A Few New Tricks by Harold Brown

on .

by Harold Brown
CVTA Master Instructor
Millis Training Institute

I have had the pleasure of being associated with the trucking industry for a number of years. I remember starting out trying to find the "Perfect Fit" in a motor carrier. That road wasn't easy, but with persistence and planning, as well as setting goals for myself, I am glad to say that I have been an instructor now for 9 years.

One concern I had was the repetitiveness of the material I was covering in both the classroom setting and in our hands-on portion of our program. CVTA has taught this old-dog a few new tricks. I have learned how to keep the material fresh and relevant, but also how to hold the students (and this instructor's) interest level where learning can take place. Using the articles and tips written by other instructors in this newsletter, I have been able to improve our program. The courses offered by CVTA are well suited for all size operations and all class sizes. I look forward to reading your articles soon. It is my hope that with continued education programs like the ones offered by CVTA, instructors can continue to educate quality Truck Drivers, not just CDL holders.

Respectfully Submitted By
Harold Brown
CVTA Master Instructor
Millis Training Institute


Tips on Training - First Do No Harm by Michael Laughy

on .

by Michael Laughy
Roadmaster Drivers School

Have you ever thought about your affect as an Instructor on the outcome of a student’s life?

Over the last four decades, I have found that when a student is struggling academically, the weakness causing the deficit was developed and perpetuated early in life. The learning deficit raises its ugly head with a simple statement such as: “Let’s face it Johnny you will never be good in math,” or “Johnny your vocabulary is bad, you better stick to cleaning septic tanks where good vocabulary isn’t necessary.”

Johnny has no reason to disbelieve his Teacher’s/Instructor’s assessment because the Teacher is the authority on such things. Poor math and vocabulary skills will remain with Johnny throughout his school years and beyond greatly reducing his chances for success. What has amazed me the most is when I push the student to tell me who told them they weren’t good in math each and every student could tell me the teachers name. The student is able to think back decades to the exact day he realized that he wasn’t smart. As Instructors and Teachers we should be required to take a form of the Hippocratic Oath stating that we pledge to “First do no harm.”

When I teach Motivational Training and Safety in property schools and large companies, one of the exercises I like to use is to have each instructor to rate the population from where they get their students. I ask them to rate the population from 1 to 5 (1 being highly motivated, 5 being folks that will never succeed no matter what). The results I receive from this exercise are interesting. Normally it looks something like this:

1 - less than 6%,

2 – 14%,

3 – 10%,

4 – 30%,

5 – 25%.

This means that Instructors believe that 25% will fail no matter what and another 30% are future failures waiting to move to 5 for an incredible 55% of all people in their area are failures at life.

So what does all this mean? When I replaced the numbers with a letter grade (A-F) and looked at individual Instructors’ grade distribution from the prior term, the grades reflected what that particular Instructor believed. One might say that proves the Instructor’s assumption was correct. I hope not, I would hate to believe that 55% of people are failures. In my 40 years of experience I have found that very few students absolutely cannot succeed. When a student fails it is the more likely the trainer that lacks the ability to train that individual. Not always, but mostly. Most Instructors and Trainers that believe as those mentioned above see a new student or trainee as extra work and are known to cut corners to get through the process. Unfortunately, Johnny (and others like him) cannot succeed in an environment that sees them as “extra work.”

As an Instructor please understand that the student has no idea what he/she hasn’t learned. However, you do. That said, it is the Instructor’s responsibility to ensure the student receives the information and can assign the appropriate meaning to the material. Let’s not pile on to the student’s lifelong failures and insecurities. Understand that they exist and prove them wrong. You are most likely Johnny’s absolute last hope for success. But “First do no Harm”.