The mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) isto reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. FMCSA, an agency of more than 1,000 employees, has offices in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. FMCSA’s programs contribute to ...
The mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) isto reduce crashes,
injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. FMCSA, an agency of more than 1,000
employees, has offices in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. FMCSA’s
programs contribute to ensuring safety in motor carrier operations through enforcement of the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), targeting of high-risk carriers and
commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, improvements in safety information systems and
CMV technologies, strengthening ofCMV equipment and operating standards, and efforts to
increase safety awareness.
§391.11 of the FMCSR outlines the general qualifications for CMV drivers, including a
requirement that they be proficient in English:
…a person is qualified to drive a motor vehicle if he can read and speak the
English language sufficientlyto converse with the general public, to understand
highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, to respond to official
inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records … §391.11(b)(2)
The purpose of this report is topresent the results of a preliminary research study designed to
review English proficiency in relation to safeCMV operation. The study endeavored to learn:
• The tasks CMV drivers perform that require language comprehension in the interest of
• The extent to which selected Federal and State enforcement personnel, motor carrier
industry groups, individual motor carriers and drivers, State driver licensing agencies and
highway departments, and highway safety advocacy groups believe that English language
proficiency is necessary for the safe operation of trucks and buses by CMV drivers.
• How these stakeholders interpret the current FMCSA rule concerning English-language
proficiency, and how they believe that a driver’s level of English proficiency could be
assessed in the licensure and hiring processes,in the daily work environment, and during
• Whether stakeholder groups believe that the English-language standard, as currently
written, can be applied in a fair and uniform manner.
This study took a three-pronged approach of examining available data, observing commercial
motor vehicle drivers during their regular schedules, and interviewing a wide range of