Regulation Simplified - Training & Tailgates

We are a free tool for motor carriers. The information provided does not cover the full regulatory requirements. To view the full regulation go to “Quick Links” at the bottom of this page.

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Training Requirements

Implementing a training program for commercial drivers is necessary step in creating a compliant and safe fleet.  There are many methods and tools for training fleets. Under “Products & Service” we offer resources to get your fleet started with a training program.

What training does the FMCSA require of the motor carrier to provide?

Fleets do not have to use any one company for this type of training. It can be done in house with a  knowledgeable instructor.  There are many scams in the transportation industry of companies stating they are a preferred or required provider in the below areas of training.  The FMCSA does not prefer or require any motor carrier to use a specific school or company for training.

Area of Required Training Who & When it is Required Name of Training
Hazmat Employee or Driver – Hazardous Material All employees who handle hazardous material and all drivers who haul hazardous material. Must take place within first 90 days of employment or change of job responsibility, and recurrent training required every three (3) years. Function Specific, General Awareness, Safety, Security, Security Plan
New Entry Driver Training (380.503) All CDL drivers with under one (1) year of experience. Hours of Service, Driver Qualification Requirements, Driver Wellness, Whistleblower Protection
Supervisor Reasonable Suspicion Training All employee/managers who supervise drivers who are subject to DOT Drug & Alcohol regulations (all CDL drivers who drive.) No recurrent training required. 60 Minutes Controlled Substance & 60 minutes Alcohol Training

How often should a motor carrier train drivers?

  • At time of hire.
  • Recurrent – monthly, quarterly, or annually. (which ever works for your company)
  • Corrective action based on an event – drivers should train if they have an event. (i.e. bad roadside inspection, a citation, or an accident)

How do motor carriers track the training?

Provide a certificate of completion to the driver and keep another copy on file. The certificate of training must include the following items.

  • Date of training.
  • Name and address of training provider.
  • Name of driver.
  • The following certification statement that the driver received the training:
    • I certify (driver name) has completed training requirements set forth in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
  • The drivers name must be printed and have a signature on the certification of training.

What other training, that is not required, is recommended for commercial drivers?

Below is a list of the more common training for drivers.  See our “Products & Services” for vendors that provide this type of training.

Defensive Driving Drug & Alcohol Awareness
Adverse Driving Conditions Fatigue Management
Distracted Driving Hazard Awareness
Speed Management Rear End Collision Avoidance
Space Management Trip Planning
Rural Roads Urban Driving
Construction and School Zones Safe Driving
Night Driving Hours of Service
Driver Wellness Cargo Securement
CSA Roadside Inspections
Avoiding Fixed Objects Avoiding Roadside Collisions
Training Techniques & Costs

What are the most common training techniques?

A combination between DVD’s or online training and with group safety meetings have proven to be very effective.  Group interaction tends to increase driver engagement. However, online training is becoming more popular due to the ease of training. With online training a driver can train anywhere at any time, they get immediate feedback because of online testing, and training is automatically documented.

A good Learning Management System (LMS) can assist with tracking of training.  Many of the online vendors that offer training have an LMS as part of their services allowing motor carriers to assign, test, and track training. Vendors have also now created the ability for motor carriers to upload their inhouse training and/or customize training for their fleets and employees.

Tailgates are also an effective training tool. These can be done in a group meeting or a quick one on one. A tailgate is a specific topic that can be covered quickly with the driver.  Our tailgates are set up to initiate conversation and discussion on a safety topic in a quick efficient format.

Regardless how you train or track that training (paper or LMS), in the eyes of the FMCSA and a plaintiffs’ attorney, if there isn’t documentation then the training didn’t happen.

How much does training cost?

  • Online training usually cost anywhere between $3 per seat up to $15 per seat (per seat is how many drivers a motor carrier can have in their system at a time). The more seats purchased the less each seat costs.
    • Most common vendors in this space: (View them under Products and Services)
      • ProTread (aka Instructional Technologies)
      • Vertical Alliance (aka Infiniti)
      • JJ Keller
      • Vivid Learning Systems
      • Carriers Edge
  • DVD’s and paper materials usually run between $250 per DVD up to $400.
  • Free tailgates and training from 4 CMV Drivers, see below under “Documents & Templates.”
Recordkeeping Requirements

Training records should be kept as long as the driver is in your employment/or under contract.

Tips from Industry Professionals

Tips from trainers and other industry professionals:

  • Motor carriers are not required to post accident drug and alcohol test for all DOT recordable accidents. However, fleets can post accident test under a drug and alcohol-free workplace policy.
  • Dispute accidents that are not on your accident register that show up under crashes on your companies CSA score under Crash Indicator.
  • Keep documentation of any post-accident training your companies does with drivers in case of litigation.
  • Watch for accident and incident trends to you can train and educate your commercial drivers.
  • During the first two years of a driver’s career and the last five years of a driver career is when they are at the most risk for accidents.
  • Utilize electronic logging devices to monitor safety and driver behavior of your drivers.
  • Offer safety rewards programs and financial incentives for driver with safe driving habits.
Documents & Templates

Using Tailgates

A tailgate is a quick training tool for safety meetings and driver meetings. Combine with a online program or DVD’s to create a comprehensive safety program.

Download this file

Accident Management Tailgate

Download this file

Driving in Traffic Tailgate

Download this file

Fatigue Management Tailgate

Download this file

Heat Related Illness Tailgate

Download this file

Distracted Driving Tailgate

Download this file

Rear End Collision Avoidance Tailgate