“How's My Driving?”: Understanding Commercial Drivers Licensing

While driving down a major interstate, you have probably found yourself caught behind a massive commercial truck. Often we are too busy trying to pass the slow-moving vehicle to notice the “How’s my driving?” sticker on the back. Who is this person asking about his or her driving, and why should you care?

Commercial Drivers License training (CDL) covers a variety of topics that ensure drivers can safely maneuver trucks carrying more than 26,000 pounds, transport quantities of hazardous materials, or transport more than sixteen passengers. Even after the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, however, accidents involving commercial vehicles number around 500,000 annually in the United States—5,000 of which involve fatalities. Though often ignored, the little sticker on the back of the truck empowers other drivers to notice unsafe activity, and hopefully, minimize accidents and deaths.

So what should you as a driver look out for? CDL training programs teach skills such as basic truck operations, map reading, trip planning, and compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation laws. These courses can also cover advanced driving techniques including skid avoidance and recovery, what to do when hydroplaning, and other emergency actions.

CDL drivers who fail to comply with government-mandated regulations face some pretty hefty penalties. For instance, driving a commercial vehicle without a license results in up to a $2,500 fine, or even prison time. In these cases, the employer can a hefty $10,000 fine. A simple elearning program is a great, cost-effective way for drivers to get trained and avoid dangers on the road. Proper training can also help drivers avoid penalties and employers to avoid fines.

Understanding what is covered by CDL training and licensing can help you, as a non-CDL driver, learn to spot dangerous situations such as weaving in-and-out of lanes, skidding, or driving at the wrong speed. If you notice any suspicious driving behavior, use that little sticker to report it. A little refresher training can go a long way!

If you are a trucking company looking to provide commercial drivers license training, we have several options to keep your driver’s safe:

Image Credit: Frank Denardo via Flickr