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New commercial truckers target of prospective training requirements

It's hardly surprising that the commercial trucking industry is a constant focus of scrutiny for state and federal regulators fixated on the public's safety.

Commercial trucks are big. In fact, they are roadway behemoths, affecting traffic around them in singular and notably dangerous ways. For obvious reasons, it takes an outsized tractor-trailer, 18-wheel rig or other large truck a comparatively long time to come to a stop following a driver's first warning of danger. Truckers' visibility -- that is, awareness of other vehicles in close proximity -- is often limited.

And collisions between commercial rigs and smaller passenger vehicles in New York and nationally come with sadly predictable consequences.

Given such realities, there is an unremitting bulls-eye on the trucking industry, most specifically a close and constant focus on measures that promote large-truck safety and protect the lives of drivers -- including truckers themselves -- and passengers on state and national roads and highways.

The U.S Department of Transportation obviously plays a central role in promoting truck safety issues, with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that is ensconced within it assuming a key role in safety oversight and rule promulgation.

The FMCSA recently announced the establishment of an advisory group tasked with drafting new training requirements for entry-level commercial truck drivers. The group, in committee form, broadly comprises members affiliated with different aspects of the trucking industry, including motor carrier organizations, labor groups, safety officials and law enforcement agents.

The need for new training guidelines seems both urgent and indisputable, given an estimate that commercial truckers will be relied upon in upcoming years to move freight across the country at a much higher rate than is currently the case.

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