FROEHLICH Tours Inc. will start requiring all its current drivers and new driver applicants to undergo a Commercial Driver License Program effective April 1, 2017 to ensure safe travel given the lack of government-initiated training and qualification programs.
Froehlich Tours provides bus charter and car rental services and is the operator of the point-to-point (P2P) premium bus service.
The transport company said over the weekend that the lack of professional driver training and qualifying examinations by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) pushed the company to require current drivers and applicants to undergo a CDL Pro training, pass the examination to pursue employment, and renew their license every 12 months.
Current drivers need to pass the CDL Pro training and examination within April 2017 to continue their employment with Froehlich Tours, according to the company.
The examination includes theoretical knowledge, preventive maintenance knowledge, and practical driving skill knowledge.
“Many drivers were operating motor vehicles that they may not have been trained or qualified to drive. This lack of training resulted in a large number of preventable traffic deaths and accidents,” the company said in a statement, emphasizing that licensing requirements for driving large vehicles and buses have not been taken seriously.
The training, which will be conducted by the company’s internal driving school, will train potential bus drivers the necessary skills and knowledge to properly and safely operate a bus, including map reading, trip planning, backing, turning, road driving, and compliance with the laws of the Department of Transportation, LTO, and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Aside from the CDL program, drivers must be fit to work and will undergo testing and be verified by St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Impairments such as inability to grasp a steering wheel or operate foot pedals, insulin use, certain cardiac and respiratory problems, markedly elevated blood pressure, epilepsy, some severe psychiatric disorders, certain color blindness, poor corrected vision in either eye worse than 20/40, bilateral hearing loss, active alcoholism, and other conditions which significantly increase the risk of a medical emergency behind the wheel will disqualify the driver from employment, the company said.
“We encountered in the past years a definite lack of qualified and experienced drivers in the country, which [made]it difficult to introduce safety and security technologies as well as modern and new bus types to the industry,” Froehlich Tours CEO Chris Bauer said.
The company said that with these measures, it will be able to “make daily commuting and traveling by bus more safe and secure in the future.”