Trucking

Student, Jimmy Haddock, left, helps Quenten Lee with identifying the parts of a tractor and trailer during a check list exercise for a pre-trip inspection upcoming exam at Future Truckers of America, truck driving school on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.
Lynn Hey / For WUNC

It’s a special day for Nobel Holmes: he’s finally getting the chance to drive. But he’s not getting behind the wheel of a car or motorcycle. Holmes is driving an 18-wheeler semi-truck for the first time.

Three FedEx trucks are shown while platooning along a highway.
Courtesy of FedEx

Volvo Trucks North America has been testing autonomous driving technology with tractor-trailers on the Highway 540 Triangle Expressway.

Federal regulators have approved that roadway for tests like these, including Volvo’s advanced driver assistance system, or ADAS.

There are new regulations coming for the state's truckers and other commercial drivers. The federal government is setting up a database to be used by the Division of Motor Vehicles in all states. Marge Howell works for North Carolina's DMV.

Marge Howell: Most of our commercial drivers will have to certify the type of driving they do, whether its intrastate or interstate, and they will also be required to provide their DMV with current medical certification information.

A fiery tractor trailer crash on I-40 claimed three lives earlier this month and the trucking company involved had numerous safety violations. The accident was one of the latest in a recent rash of deadly highway crashes involving big rigs. Other major accidents in recent months involved budget bus lines that also that have long lists of citations for, among other things, driver fatigue.