New Entry Level Driver Training Requirements
Are you prepared for the new entry level driver training requirements?
Starting on February 7, 2022, the FMCSA’s Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rule will go into effect. ELDT will help ensure that new drivers are adequately trained before hitting the road for the first time, making the roads safer for everyone.
The ELDT rule applies to:
- Anyone seeking a CDL for the first time (Class A & Class B)
- Anyone seeking to upgrade their CDL (i.e. from Class B to Class A) for the first time
- Anyone seeking a hazardous material (H), passenger (P) or school bus (S) endorsement for the first time
Currently, ELDT CDL training requirements were set by states and varied widely. The new ELDT rule establishes minimum requirements for entry-level driver training standards for training providers and CDL applicants nationwide.
As a motor carrier, if you want to provide your own ELDT-based training, you’ll need to apply to be added to the Training Provider Registry (TPR, online at tpr.fmcsa.dot.gov).
To qualify, you must:
- Develop or purchase a curriculum that complies with 49 CFR Part 380;
- Have an adequate classroom and range where you conduct the training;
- Have vehicles of the correct type and class;
- Have instructors with the correct CDL license and at least two years of driving experience;
- Comply with any state/local requirements that might apply to training providers; and
- Complete the TPR application.
The actual training is broken up into two portions: theory and a behind the wheel. Driver- trainees must demonstrate proficiency in both theory and behind the wheel training portions and all training must be delivered by a qualified instructor. There is NO minimum number of hours required for either behind-the-wheel training or knowledge training under the new rule. The ELDT rule only requires that “applicants seeking a CDL would be required to demonstrate proficiency in knowledge training and behind-the-wheel training on a driving range and on a public road, with training obtained from an instructional program that meets FMCSA standards.”
Until February 7, 2022, current ELDT rules apply. Those rules say that any driver with less than one year of experience operating a CDL-class vehicle in interstate commerce must receive training on four subjects (see §380.503) prior to being used as a driver. Before the new requirements kick in on February 7, you can provide this training without being on the TPR.
As of February 7, 2022, if you hire a driver who already has a CLP, CDL, or an S, P, or H endorsement, no entry-level training is required, however, drivers with a CLP must obtain their CDL before their permit expires, however, or training will be required. Motor carriers may want to encourage interested employees to obtain a CLP or S, P, or H endorsement prior to Feb. 7, 2022, before the new training requirements take effect. If you hire a CDL/CLP driver early next year but don’t actually use them as a driver until February 7 or later, no entry-level training of any kind is required.