FMCSA awards grants for increasing, improving CDL training

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Sept. 18, 2023:

FMCSA awards grants for improving CDL licensing process

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Sept. 14 announced it will award approximately $48 million in grant funding to increase commercial driver’s license driver training opportunities and continue to improve the process to obtain a CDL.

The funding is aimed at improving the resiliency of the national supply chain and strengthening America’s trucking workforce, the agency said.

“Every day, we all count on food, clothing, medicine, and other goods that reach us thanks to America's truck drivers,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With these grants, we are helping states bring more well-trained drivers into this essential field, strengthening our supply chains for years to come.” 

FMCSA is awarding more than $44 million to states and other entities to operate national CDL programs through the Commercial Driver’s License Program Implementation (CDLPI) grant. This will help states expedite CDL issuance and renewals and ensure states electronically exchange conviction and disqualification data. FMCSA noted that data pertains primarily to motor vehicle traffic control-related convictions and other convictions and disqualifications outlined in 49 CFR 383.51 and not all conviction data.

The funding will also implement regulatory safety requirements supporting the National Roadway Safety Strategy and develop human trafficking outreach and education materials for CDL drivers. Examples of projects funded include hiring state personnel to reduce CDL skills testing delays, improving CDL reporting, maintaining accurate driver records, and training CDL skills test examiners.

Thanks to the more than $3 million investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training grant (CMVOST) recipients will also increase their capacity to train veterans and their family members, individuals from underserved and refugee communities, and other Americans to safely operate CMVs, obtain their CDLs, and enter the truck and bus driving profession. 

“This essential funding provided through the CMVOST grant program will help expand and diversify the pool of trained drivers, with an important focus on attracting veterans and individuals from underserved and refugee communities,” said FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson. “We’re proud that these grants are giving priority to current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including National Guard, Reservists, and their family members, to pursue a commercial driver’s license.”

Goodyear accepting nominations for 40th Highway Hero award

In celebration of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week and the 40th year of the Goodyear Highway Hero Award, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has opened entries for the 2023 Highway Hero Award.

Highway Hero Logo 20230914Since 1983, Goodyear has been recognizing commercial truck drivers who go above and beyond their regular duties to keep our highways safe. 

"Commercial truck drivers fulfill an important, vital job for our country and communities. Nearly every aspect of our daily lives is made possible thanks to a commercial truck driver," said Dave Beasley, vice president, North America Commercial. "This year, to celebrate Goodyear's 125th anniversary, we want to acknowledge even more of those who go above and beyond to keep America moving, whether it's on the highways, on job sites or in our communities."

To commemorate the milestone year, Goodyear for the first time in the Highway Hero Award’s history will select two winners from a wider pool of commercial drivers than ever before. Now through Dec. 31, 2023, Goodyear is inviting nominations for truckers with a CDL who went above and beyond the call of duty to help others on the road, regardless of whether in a long-haul truck, a dump truck or certain regional delivery and vocational vehicles.

Those who wish to enter or nominate a driver can use the nomination form to share the story. Goodyear will determine an approved list of nominees from which a panel of judges will select two winners and up to four finalists. 

Goodyear will announce the award winners in early 2024, honoring the drivers with cash prizes, a Goodyear prize package including travel and hotel expense for a trip to New Orleans for a winner announcement at the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition in March. Up to four runners-up will also receive a cash prize and Goodyear prize packages.

Eligible nominees for this year's award must be a full-time commercial driver with a valid CDL, reside in the U.S. or Canada and be actively operating a commercial, infrastructure, vocational vehicle or non-lifesaving emergency vehicle with rim size greater than 19 inches. The driver must also be on the job at the time of the heroic incident, and the act must have occurred between Jan. 1, 2023, and Dec. 31, 2023.

Volvo Trucks announces changes to Canadian leadership

Volvo Trucks North America announced Sept. 14 the appointment of Matthew Blackman as the new regional vice president of Canada, effective Oct. 1.

Matthew BlackmanMatthew BlackmanIn this role, Blackman will report directly to Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. Blackman will succeed Paul Kudla, who has served as managing director of Canada and is retiring at the end of December with 24 years of service with Volvo Trucks and 11 years at Mack Trucks. 

Blackman brings extensive experience, with two decades within the heavy equipment industry. Over the past two years, he has demonstrated his leadership ability as the director of parts sales for Volvo Trucks Canada, the company said.

With a focus on market share development, new truck sales volume, profitability, and customer satisfaction, Blackman will play a pivotal role in advancing VTNA's operations within the Canadian Region. 

"We are excited about the appointment of Matthew to this crucial leadership role,” said Voorhoeve. “His impressive track record and deep industry knowledge will be instrumental in driving VTNA's growth and success in the Canadian market. We have full confidence in Matthew’s ability to lead the team in Canada to new heights of achievement. At the same time, we want to thank Paul for his many years of service to Volvo and wish he and his family the best wishes."