Trucking Headlines: FMCSA gets tougher on English-language rule

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Oct 3 13:15:15 UTC 2007

Trucking Headlines
 FMCSA gets tougher on English-language rule
By eTrucker Staff

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that a
driver unable to meet the English-language requirement set forth in
391.11(b)(2) now may be placed out of service, not merely cited. Up to
now, enforcement personnel have been told to cite the driver, but not
to place him out of service. Under the new FMCSA policy, inspectors
are instructed to converse with the driver in English on a minimum of
the following areas:

His origin and destination.

His record of duty status, on-duty time and driving time.

His driver's license.

Any vehicle components and systems regulated by FMCSA.

Inspectors are told that they must conduct a portion of the road
inspection in English, specifically the driver interview. Drivers must
respond appropriately in English to demonstrate proficiency. Failure
to respond appropriately to basic questions will result in an
out-of-service violation. Inspectors are instructed to speak slowly
but naturally. They are not to rush through questions and may
paraphrase in English. Mexican carriers that operate exclusively in
the border commercial zones are exempt from the change in policy.
Drivers for those carriers who fail the English-language requirement
within the border zone will continue to be cited only.
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