How Were the PTDI Standards Developed?

  1. Entry-level Truck Driver Training Course Standards

    When TCA assumed management of PTDI, in 1996 it knew that it had to invite all the stakeholders in truck driver training to become involved in the revitalization of the organization. The stakeholders included schools, trucking companies, insurance companies, drivers, funding organizations, and regulatory organizations. The standards were developed with a four-step process.

    1. November 11, 1996 -- Public Hearing, Washington D.C. Sixty (60) organizations provided comment and forty (40) stakeholders attended the meeting. The stakeholders were asked: (1) Do the current standards fairly measure the quality of education and training for entry-level truck drivers? (2) Does the current curriculum cover the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed for adequately trained entry-level drivers? (3) Does the process fairly address an evaluation of courses for the entry-level truck driver?
    2. February 13-14, 1997 -- National Skill Standards Forum, Chicago, IL
      Sixty-nine (69) carriers (both managers and high-performing drivers), insurance and other industry representatives attended. The stakeholders were asked (1) What does a driver need know? (2) What does a driver need to be able to do? and (3) How well does the driver need to be able to do it? Drivers and managers met separately and were asked to look at each skill in light of its importance, frequency, and hours needed to master the skill. Product result: Skill Standards for Entry-Level Truck Drivers<
    3. April 23, 1997 -- National Entry-level Truck Driver Curriculum Forum, Chicago, IL
      Seventy-eight (78) stakeholders attended. The stakeholders reviewed the curriculum used to teach the necessary skills and knowledge for entry-level truck drivers. The curriculum was built on the eleven years work of the U.S. Department of Transportation, PTDI, and major carriers and schools. A second smaller meeting was held June 19, 1997, with selected education stakeholders to help refine the work of the April 23 meeting. Product result: Tractor-Trailer Driver Curriculum Standard Guidelines; and
    4. April 24, 1997 -- National Entry-Level Truck Driver Training Certification Forum, Chicago, IL
      Seventy- (70) stakeholder attended. The stakeholders reviewed the certification factors: program administration; instructional personnel; training vehicles; instruction; training time; student testing and student records. The group also identified strategies for making the certification process more "user friendly". In preparation for the meeting a survey regarding the certification factors was sent to 300 stakeholder including, carriers, school, and insurance companies. Product result: Standards and Requirements for Course Certification.
    5. October 1997 -- January 1999 &endash; Beta Test of the PTDI Standards, Nationwide
      Sixty-two (62) schools applied for certification of their courses under the beta-test standards. Results: As of January 21, 1999, 41 schools had received certification or re-certification of their courses.
    6. January 1999 -- Final Revisions of Standards
      Approximately 150 of the original stakeholders who had participated in the development of the standards were sent final minor revisions of the standards for their vote. Results: Sent to PTDI Board of Directors.
    7. January 24, 1999 -- PTDI Board of Director approved the standards
      • Skill Standards for Entry-Level Tractor-Trailer Drivers
      • Curriculum Standard Guidelines for Entry-Level Tractor-Trailer Driver Courses
      • Certification Standards and Requirements for Entry-Level Tractor-Trailer Driver Courses

      Note: Above standards are periodically reviewed and updated. A review was completed in March 2003. A full review of all entry-level standards (Skill, Curriculum and Certification) was completed in May 2011.

  2. Carrier Driver Finishing Program Standards

    When a student graduates from a PTDI-certified course he/she is considered a "second seat" driver who has the knowledge and skill to operate a commercial vehicle safely, but without supervision, and lacks the experience to perform as a solo driver. He/she needs to be "finished" at the carrier. During this 4-6 week driver-finishing program, the student driver is further trained under the supervision of a trained driver trainer. When he/she completes the driver-finishing program he/she is a solo driver who can drive safely without supervision.

    Based on the stakeholder process for developing course standards for school entry-level truck driving courses, PTDI invited carriers, schools, and insurance companies to participate in the development of PTDI Driver Finishing Standards. The meetings were held:

    1. February 1999 -- Nashville, Tennessee -- National Forum -- 72 attended
    2. June, 1999 -- Nashville, Tennessee -- National Forum -- 91 attended
    3. September, 1999 -- Phoenix, Arizona -- Final Task Force -- 30 attended
    4. November-December 1999 -- Standards were sent to 800 reviewers for comment.
    5. January 2000 -- PTDI Board of Directors approved the standards
  3. The Younger Driver Program Standards

    Responding to a critical driver shortage and record low unemployment, the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to test a new three-year pilot program designed to train and place 18-20-year-olds as commercial interstate truck drivers. The program contained numerous safeguards and imposed stringent eligibility and performance standards on the students, the truck driver training schools, and the motor carriers participating in the program. The safeguards built into the pilot program included the right student selection and screening; the right training; and the right evaluation and monitoring of the student and the program. TCA commissioned PTDI to develop the standards for the program.

    1. March 2000 -- National Forum on Younger Driver Standards
      Twenty -seven (27) carrier training and safety managers, school representatives with PTDI certified courses, and insurance representatives attended the forum The participants used PTDI Standards and Requirements for Entry-Level Tractor-Trailer Courses and the Certification Standards and Requirements for Tractor-Trailer Driver Finishing Programs as a baseline for the development of the Younger Driver Program Standards
    2. April 2000 -- The standards were sent out for review to schools, carrier CEOs and safety managers and insurance companies.
    3. May 2000 -- PTDI Board of Directors approved the standards
      • Younger Driver Program Standards that include: Program Standards, Skill Standards for the Professional Solo Tractor-Trailer Driver and Curriculum Standards.


To purchase the full text of the set of standards (including Skill, Curriculum, and Certification) or to request an Application for Certification please click below:

Standards/Application Request Form (20K) pdf
get acrobat