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New head of CVTA focusing on entry-level driver training rule

A. Bailey Wood also confident that delays will subside at state licensing agencies with rollout of vaccine

Wood takes CVTA wheel from Don Lefeve. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves and CVTA)

Helping prepare truck driver training schools for a major new federal regulation is at the top of A. Bailey Wood’s priority list.

Wood is taking over as president and CEO of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) from Don Lefeve.

“Obviously the first issue in terms of the association’s priorities is implementation of the entry-level driver training [ELDT] rule, and making sure the states are ready for it as well as the industry,” Wood told FreightWaves. “We’ve had several webinars and are planning to hold more. We’ll be reaching out to the truck driver school industry and make sure they’re up to speed.”

The ELDT rule, which sets minimum standards for general knowledge and behind-the-wheel training, was scheduled to go into effect last year after an initial delay from 2017. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) extended the rule’s compliance deadline to Feb. 7, 2022, however, to give the agency more time to develop the rule’s Training Provider Registry (TPR), and more time for state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) to modify their IT systems to coordinate data with the TPR.

In a statement announcing the change at the top of CVTA, Wood said his goal in the new position is to “grow the scope and influence of CVTA to better serve our members and make trucking safer.”

Wood, whose most recent position was director of communications for the U.S. Federal Transit Administration, brings both legislative and association experience to CVTA. Prior positions include legislative assistant to the House Committee on Education and Workforce, press secretary for three members of the U.S. House of Representatives, senior director at the National Automobile Dealers Association, and vice president with the National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association.

“Between Bailey’s D.C. experience specific to education and transportation and his hands-on management at two national organizations, I believe he’s an excellent choice to shepherd our agenda, our growth and to address members’ needs,” commented CVTA Chairman Larry Marsh, owner of JTL Truck Driver Training.

Wood added that delays in testing for commercial driver’s licenses due to effects from COVID-19 continue to be an issue on a state-by-state basis.

However, “we’ve been working on this problem for some time, and I think we’ll see natural progress as we’re finally getting vaccines in people’s arms, with new hope coming out of this pandemic in a way that will get things moving again at [SDLAs] and at businesses across the country.”

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John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.