9 safe-driving rules to remember

February 24, 2022 By    

Since 2012, we have heard about changes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements.

Over that period, studies were conducted, and joint groups representing FMCSA and motor carriers met to develop regulations intended to enhance the safety of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operations on our highways. By establishing uniform requirements for both behind-the-wheel and theory training, the results will be better-qualified CMV drivers.

FMCSA lists nine rules of the road for CMV drivers on fmcsa.dot.gov:

  1. Defense! Defense! CMV drivers should always be scanning ahead to detect unexpected road conditions, distracted drivers and motorists who don’t understand their part in sharing the road safely.
  2. Signal for safety. Give others plenty of time to notice actions such as signaling and braking. Understand the use of flashers, reflective triangles and road flares to signal others if you must pull off the road.
  3. Know when to slow. Driving too fast in certain weather conditions, or on curves or ramps, can lead to spills, rollovers and crashes. Maintain a safe following distance.
  4. Maintain your vehicle. Completing thorough pre-trip safety inspections can save lives, including yours. Tire and brake inspections are particularly important, as is ensuring your load is well balanced and secure. Shifting loads can cause loss of control and lead to a rollover.
  5. Buckle up. Safety belts save lives and reduce injuries by ensuring drivers stay inside and in control of the vehicle in case of a crash.
  6. Stay sharp. Don’t drive when you are ill, fatigued or on medications that make you drowsy or dizzy.
  7. Get the right trip planning information. Be aware that navigation systems and apps may not provide all warnings for CMVs. Stay up to date on weather, road conditions, detours, mountainous routes, height and weight limitations and other CMV restrictions.
  8. Practice work zone safety. Slow down, be prepared to stop and maintain extra following distance in work zones. They present many hazards like lane shifts, sudden stops, uneven road surfaces, road construction workers and equipment, and confused motorists.
  9. Never drive distracted. It is illegal for a commercial driver to text while driving, which is among the worst driving distractions. There are also restrictions on using mobile phones. Other distractions – eating, drinking, interacting with electronic devices, controlling a pet or any other activity that takes your focus off the road – can be just as deadly.

These nine topics are included in the FMCSA theory and the behind-the-wheel training guidance for Class B drivers – the most common class used for bobtail drivers – and FMCSA training guidance for entry-level driver training.

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) and the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) used the guidance from FMCSA to develop the theory curriculum for the industry’s entry-level driver training program. NPGA is also launching a new service to offer marketers administrative assistance with requirements, filing the necessary paperwork and submitting information to FMCSA.

MORE: NPGA director explains new entry-level driver training regulations

As an industry, we should be proud to have PERC to provide educational programs and NPGA to ensure regulatory compliance. By working together, not only do they ensure compliance but also a path for qualified drivers that makes safety a personal choice and fosters a safer environment for all of us.

These nine subjects are not just for new drivers; they are good reminders for all drivers, including non-CMV drivers. All drivers should understand that CMVs have large blind spots, much longer stopping distances and limited maneuverability – to help prevent problems and make safety everyone’s responsibility.

Randy Warner is the product safety manager for Cavagna North America. He can be reached at randywarner@us.cavagnagroup.com.

NOTE: The opinions and viewpoints expressed herein are solely the author’s and should in no way be interpreted as those of LP Gas magazine or any of its staff members.

Featured homepage image: iStock.com/Urupong

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