New CDL Rules To Begin January 30, 2012


The New Year is upon us, and with it comes new rules and regulations. Everyone should be prepared for the new Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) regulations (383.71) that go into effect on January 30, 2012. I strongly suggest that everyone – and I mean everyone, including drivers, dispatchers, recruiters, etc. – read the new regulations because there are some very interesting changes. There are new regulations for applications submitted prior to January 30, 2012 and for applications submitted on or after January 30, 2012.

Truck drivers will now have to pick what classification they will be driving. The new classifications include Non-Excepted Interstate Driver, Excepted Interstate Driver, Non-Excepted Intrastate Driver and Excepted Intrastate Driver. There is also a new section on driver’s license transfers, driver license renewals and driver license upgrades. There are also new sections on nonresident CDLs, new CDL applicants, existing CDL holders and existing CDL holder’s self-certification. Finally, there is a section on the medical certification documentation required by the State and a new section on maintaining a “certified” status on the medical certification. If you are now working for a motor carrier that has FMCSA authority, you MUST have a 649-F medical form. If you’re in California, the DL51 form is not good enough anymore.

Section 383.71 also lists the “Acceptable Proofs of Citizenship or Immigration” that will be allowed to prove that you can drive a commercial vehicle in the US. There are five documents for US citizens and four documents for a lawful permanent resident. As always, there are exceptions to these regulations, so you should call your local association’s safety department. If you do not belong to a trucking association, you should! The transportation world is always changing, and if you don’t stay up with things, you will be left behind.


When we look at the world’s economy today, we can’t help but worry. You, as small business owners, don’t have the luxury of just sitting around on your behind and “occupying” some city hall or port. You need to generate business. You need to keep your drivers busy. You need to feed your family and pay your bills. I have seen too many of our small businesses go under in the last few years.

I was born in Missouri – the “Show Me” state – the home of Harry “the buck stops here” Truman. Harry Truman was the 33rd President of the United States. He was in office from 1945 to 1953. I was one year old when he took office. Truman is one of my heroes. So, just like Truman, the buck stops here with NTA. I don’t know about you, but I just can’t sit around and watch our member trucking companies go under any longer. We at NTA decided to do something about this situation.

NTA has partnered with Secure Shipper. This is a place where shippers and brokers can find a secure trucker with credentials. After all, how are you going to be a part of the supply chain if no one knows you exist? This is not a load board. This is a place where a shipper in China or a broker in New York, who needs a safe and secure trucking company in the US, can find a match. NTA realizes that many of their members are very active in the broader supply chain and are providing transportation services to many international shippers and freight forwarders. Because of the growing demands on companies throughout the supply chain to develop and maintain good security programs, it is becoming very common for the shippers to require that their partners have some kind of security profile.

Supply chain security refers to the overall effort to strengthen and secure the logistics supply chain. A basic goal of any security program is to prevent the introduction of weapons of terror, including weapons of mass destruction, from entering the supply chain. Not certified? No internal security program? Secure Shipper can help you upgrade your security profile so you can start marketing your company as a certified business partner.

A Secure Shipper Directory listing gives you the marketing platform to promote your company, describe your services and facilities, post security documents, list your associations, memberships, awards, etc. With a listing in the Secure Shipper Directory, your company will be seen as a resource for certified members of the secure supply chain worldwide. Again, don’t be left behind! More information can be found on the NTA website (www.ntassoc.com).


Researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) have determined that a driver’s reaction time is doubled when distracted by reading or sending a text message. The study reveals how the texting impairment is even greater than many experts previously thought, and demonstrates how texting drivers are less able to react to sudden roadway hazards. This study was the first published work in the United States to examine texting while driving in an actual driving environment.

Participants were asked to type a story of their choice (usually a simple fairy tale) and also read and answer questions related to another story, both on their smart phone in a laboratory setting. Next, each participant then navigated a test-track course with both an open section and a section lined by construction barrels. Drivers first drove the course without texting, and then repeated both lab tasks separately while driving through the course again.

Throughout the test-track exercise, each participant’s reaction time to a periodic flashing light was recorded. Reaction times with no texting activity were typically between one and two seconds. Reaction times while texting, however, were at least three to four seconds. Worse yet, drivers were more than eleven times more likely to miss the flashing light altogether when they were texting. The researchers say that the study findings extend to other driving distractions that involve reading or writing, such as checking e-mail or Facebook pages.

The study, sponsored by the Southwest Region University Transportation Center, was managed by Christine Yager, an associate transportation researcher at TTI’s Center for Transportation Safety. 42 drivers between the ages of 16 and 54 participated in the research. We all knew that texting was dangerous to do while driving, and this study just goes to prove it even more. Please, be careful out there!

About Wayne Schooling

Wayne Schooling has been in the transportation business since 1962. Starting out as a driver, Wayne later made the switch to management. Over the years, he has accumulated 22 various awards and honors, been involved with 6 professional affiliations, has spoken at several lectures, and earned 3 professional diplomas. Wayne, who has written for 10-4 Magazine since 1994, is currently President Emeritus of the NorthAmerican Transportation Association (NTA).