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Professional Truck Driver Institute 555 E. Braddock Rd., Alexandria, VA 22314 703-647-7015; ptdi@truckload.org; www.ptdi.org

Checklist for Quality Courses in Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Driver Training

This Checklist is a yardstick for motor carriers, commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver employers, truck safety advocates, prospective students and others in measuring the quality of a CMV driver training program.

Formal training is the most reliable way to learn the many special skills required for safe CMV driving. The more skills that are learned in supervised training, the fewer that need to be learned on the job. Such training is available from private CMV driver training schools, public education institutions and in-house motor carrier training programs. Because of the important role in CMV safety, the trucking industry has implemented minimum standards by which to measure training programs. The standards are administered through the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). Training institutions voluntarily certify their courses to verify that they are meeting PTDI industry standards.

You can use the following Checklist to evaluate a course against PTDI standards. PTDI-certified courses meet all of these standards plus a number of others. The Checklist is only brief treatment of the standards by which CMV driver training quality is measured. It is not intended to provide an exhaustive treatment of evaluation standards. For the full standards and guidelines, see www.ptdi.org/standards.

To find the answer to these points, you might consider asking school personnel, current students or graduates, and motor carriers who hire graduates from the school.


  • Is the course accurately and clearly defined and explained in informational materials on topics such as costs, tuition reimbursement (if any), training provided, equipment used, outcomes, classroom hours and actual individual driving time?

    • i.

      e., is advertising truthful?

  • Are there clearly stated goals that match the needs of students and the transportation industry?

  • Are there clear, written eligibility requirements and admissions procedures that the school follows and provides to prospective students?

  • Must an applicant meet minimum DOT, state/provincial, federal and/or local law and regulations related to drug screens, age, physical condition, licensing, driving ability, and driving record as stated in the school’s admissions policy?

  • Are there written policies regarding safety, liability and rules?


  • Do instructors possess a combination of education and experience that clearly qualify them for their assignments?

  • Do driving instructors have at least three years of experience as a licensed CMV driver with a driving record which meets

state/provincial requirements, school policy and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations?

  • Do instructors have teacher/instructional skills?

  • Do instructors have a state/provincial license or permit, if required?

  • Are instructors thoroughly trained in the curriculum?

  • Are instructors carefully supervised and evaluated?

  • Do instructors participate in regular staff development programs?


  • Are vehicles in good mechanical condition and comply with applicable federal/state/provincial safety requirements?

  • Are training vehicles comparable in size and power to those used by motor carriers in the area?


  • Does the course outline clearly identify units of instruction including their sequence, broad purpose and general content?

  • Does instruction cover knowledge, skill and behavior required to operate a CMV safely and properly? (See Primary Functions/Duties of a CMV Driver” in the PTDI Skill Standards for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers and the “Minimum Hours of Training & Five Curriculum Units” in the PTDI Curriculum Standards and Guidelines for Entry- Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Courses at www.ptdi.org/standards.)

  • Does classroom instruction include the use of aids such as video, electronic multi-media, displays, textbooks, models, charts, computer-based instruction, simulation, etc?

  • Are instructional materials appropriate for the ability of the trainee and are they up-to-date?

  • Are materials provided to each trainee?


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