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Truck Driver Training Outline

The Commercial Vehicle Training Association does not certify truck driver training programs nor does it require members follow a specific curriculum. After various inquiries, however, the CVTA has provided a suggested outline of subjects to be taught to all entry-level commercial driver trainees.

Truck Driver Training Outline Sections

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Section 1 – Basic Operation

The first section of the truck driver training outline covers the interaction between students and the vehicle, introducing students to the components of the tractor-trailer and it’s basic maneuvers. It is intended to teach students how to control the vehicle and ensure it is in proper operating condition.

  • Orientation
  • Control Systems
  • Vehicle Inspections
  • Basic Control
  • Shifting
  • Backing
  • Coupling and Uncoupling
  • Special Rigs

Section 2 – Safe Operating Practices

This section covers the interaction between the student, their vehicle, and the highway traffic environment surrounding them. Section two is intended to teach students to apply their basic operating skills in a way that ensures their own safety and the safety of other drivers on the road.

  • Visual Search
  • Communication
  • Speed Management
  • Space Management
  • Night Operation
  • Extreme Driving Conditions
  • Safe Operating Practices

Section 3 – Advanced Operating Practices

The Advanced Operating Practices section covers the hazards of the roadway traffic environment and the higher-level skills needed to handle them. Students will develop the skills needed to recognize potential hazards, as well as how to handle the vehicle in emergency situations.

  • Hazard Perception
  • Emergency Maneuvers
  • Skid Control and Recovery

Section 4 – Vehicle Maintenance

This section is about how the various components of the vehicle work. Students will learn to recognize a malfunction and/or safety hazard before it causes an accident or serious damage. Routine service functions and simple maintenance tasks will be covered, allowing students to recognize when the vehicle needs repairs.

  • Vehicle Systems
  • Preventive Maintenance and Servicing
  • Diagnosing and Reporting Malfunctions

Section 5 – Non-Vehicle Activities

The fifth and last section of truck driver training covers the activities that are not directly related to the vehicle. Students are taught to carry out these activities in a way that protects their safety, the safety of their vehicle, its cargo, and other motorists.

  • Handling Cargo
  • Cargo Documentation
  • Hours of Service Requirements
  • Accident Procedures
  • Personal Health and Safety
  • Trip Planning
  • Public and Employer Relations

Training Activities

In addition to units of instruction covered above, truck driver training also includes activities in the following areas:

  • Classroom Lessons – Classroom instruction occurs indoors. Instructional aids allow large numbers of students be effectively taught at one time.
  • Lab Lessons – Any instruction outside of a classroom that does not involve actual operation of the vehicle or it’s components, can be referred to as laboratory instruction. This may take place in a parking lot, garage or dealer/fleet operator-owned facility.
  • Range Lessons – At the off street “driving range,” students can use tractor-trailers without worrying about other cars on the road. Range instruction may be conducted on public roads should adequate control of other traffic be available.
  • Street Lessons – Behind-the-wheel instruction on roadway configurations and traffic conditions is needed to satisfy the objections of the training program.

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