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Beginning February 7, 2022, drivers applying for an initial commercial driver’s license (CDL), upgrading a current CDL, or obtaining a hazardous materials, passenger, or school bus endorsement will need to complete entry-level driver training. The training includes both theory and behind-the-wheel instruction and must be provided by a school or entity listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR). In order to be listed on the TPR, the training provider must meet specific requirements addressing curriculum, facilities, vehicles, equipment, and instructor qualifications.
As a provider listed on the TPR,
The entry-level driver training (ELDT) rule has been delayed for two years. The new compliance date is February 7, 2022. Though the rule has been delayed, schools and training entities should continue to prepare for this final rule, as the requirements are complex. It will take a substantial amount of time to implement all curriculum, facility, equipment, and instructor requirements.
Compliance with the new Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rule is quickly approaching. As of February 7, 2022, the education requirements will change for an individual who wants to:
Gone will be the days of obtaining a learner’s permit, driving with a CDL holder for as little as a few hours, and then taking the CDL road test. The process will become more detailed and will take more time than before.
Under the new requirements, an entry-level driver must, prior to taking the CDL test, successfully complete a prescribed program of theory and behind-the-wheel instruction provided by a school or other entity listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR). The schools and entities that provide CDL driver training are mandated to follow a specific curriculum and meet FMCSA-prescribed standards to be a recognized training provider.
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Originally scheduled to go into effect February 7, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has delayed implementation until February 7, 2022.
As of February 7, 2022, compliance with all aspects of the ELDT rule is required.
The requirements apply to anyone:
The rule does not apply to individuals who held a valid and current CDL and the appropriate endorsement(s) before February 7, 2022.
The old and new ELDT rules are two different requirements and should be addressed separately.
First, the current/old ELDT rule applies to drivers with less than one year of experience operating a commercial motor vehicle requiring a CDL in interstate commerce. It is the motor carrier’s responsibility to ensure that compliance is happening, and that proper documentation is on file for each driver. As of February 7, 2022, this rule will “sunset.” Carriers will no longer need to comply. Anyone who was subject to this rule prior to February 7, 2022, should have a copy of the training certificate in his or her DQ file.
As for the “new” ELDT rule, the motor carrier has no training or documentation responsibilities. The training (and certification of successful completion of training) must happen prior to an individual taking his or her CDL skills test.
The required training includes both theory and behind-the-wheel instruction.
The instruction must be provided by an entity listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR).
There isn’t a minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on the theory instruction, but the instructor must cover all topics set forth in the curriculum.
The topics in the curriculum cover five areas of instruction:
Driver-trainees must demonstrate their understanding of the material by achieving an overall minimum score of 80 percent on the theory assessment.
Behind-the-wheel training includes both range and public road instruction. This instruction must be conducted in the class of commercial motor vehicle that the trainee will be taking his or her CDL road test in when the time comes to complete the skills test.
Skills that must be covered during range instruction include vehicle inspection, various backing skills, and coupling and uncoupling.
Skills that must be covered during public road instruction include left and right turns, lane changes, curves at highway speeds, and entry and exit on interstate or controlled access highways.
There isn’t a minimum number of hours that must be spent on behind-the-wheel training, but the instructor must cover all topics included in the curriculum.
The instructor must determine and document that each driver-trainee has demonstrated proficiency in all elements of the behind-the-wheel curriculum. The instructor must also document the total number of clock hours each driver-trainee spends to complete the behind-the-wheel curriculum.
Both the theory and behind-the-wheel training must be provided by an entity listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR). Most entities listed in the TPR will be truck driver training schools and motor carriers that have schools to train their own drivers.
The TPR will be available via FMCSA’s website. It is not yet up and running, but once available, a training entity will be able to complete an electronic application, and if approved by FMCSA, be listed on the TPR as an approved training provider. All applications must be filed electronically via FMCSA’s website. Paper applications will not be accepted.
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