National refrigerated super-carrier C.R. England applied for and now has received an exemption which will allow their non-CDL holding new hires to drive their routes without needing a driver trainer sitting in the seat next to them.
The carrier complained that it was too expensive to get new drivers back to their local DMVs to pick up their CDLs, impairing their ability to train and hire new drivers. This despite the fact that Google Finance reports C.R. England’s revenues for 2014 as just shy of $3 Billion with after-tax earnings of over $200 million.
The exemption will allow C.R. England to run the new driver and the experienced driver as a team until they’re routed to the new driver’s home state to pick up his or her license. The exemption will be good for two years.
While in the past many new truckers had to deal with their “trainers” hanging out in the sleeper while they were getting their first few hundred miles under their belts, some are expressing concern that officially endorsing this dangerous practice could result in poorly trained new drivers and more accidents on the road.
C.R. England contends that since their new hires hold permits and have passed both the written and practical portions of their CDL exams, that they have proven that they don’t need any more training.
The FMCSA agreed with that statement saying “There is no quantitative data or other information that having a CDL holder accompany a CLP holder who has passed the skills test improves safety.”
After the request for the exemption was announced back in December, TruckersReport published an article detailing the request and included a link to a public comment page posted by the FMCSA. Of the 279 comments, all of which can be viewed here, 257 of them were posted by individuals and organizations in opposition to the request. Among those were the CVSA, OOIDA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and former C.R. England employees and driver trainers.
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