Driving a bus or big truck requires more skills and aptitude than driving a small vehicle like a car or jeepney.
To drive a large commercial vehicle safely, one must be properly trained and pass a test geared to higher standards.
AAP Vice-President and Road Safety Committee Chairman Johnny Angeles said that a fourth driver’s license, the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), should be added to the three existing driver’s licenses (Student, Non-Professional and Professional.)
Angeles pointed out California in the United States developed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Program that issues the CDL to make roads safer for all road users.
A professional driver can obtain a CDL by taking and passing a test that exceeds federal standards since it takes special skills and aptitude to operate large trucks and buses. A CDL is proof that the driver has these necessary skills.
In California, the following categories are considered as a commercial motor vehicle: (a) has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more; b) a combination vehicle with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more; c) tows any vehicle with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more; d) tows more than one vehicle or a trailer bus; e) has three or more axles (excluding three-axle vehicles weighing 6,000 pounds or less gross); f) any vehicle (bus, farm, labor machine, general public paratransit vehicle, etc.) designed, used or maintained to carry more than 10 passengers including the driver, for hire or profit, or is used by a non-profit organization or group; g) any size vehicle which requires hazardous materials material placards or is carrying material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR; and (h) transports hazardous wastes.
Angeles said that our Land Transportation Office should consider the CDL because of the many road crashes involving trucks and buses driven by those who do not have the training and skills to drive large vehicles safely.
In addition to the CDL, Angeles suggested that all professional drivers should undergo: (1) Red Cross training on first aid, rescue and response procedures in emergency situations since the driver is usually the first person present in an emergency; and 2) drug testing, including those applying to renew their license.
Angeles expressed optimism that with the approval of the implementing rules and regulations for the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013, there will be less road crashes.