After extremely lengthy consideration by the federal government, Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) for truck drivers, as well as other commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators, is set to go into effect in February 2022. Its long history goes back more than a decade before the creation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2000.
Beginning February 7, 2022, all entry-level operators of CMVs in both interstate and intrastate commerce who are applying for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) must first satisfactorily complete minimum training requirements before taking their state-administered CDL examination.
This includes those seeking a Class A or Class B CDL, an upgrade to their CDL (such as a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL), or a hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S) endorsement for their license. Also included are those taking a CDL for P and S endorsement skills test or the H endorsement knowledge examination.
The one exception is that in March 2019 FMCSA eliminated duplicative theory coursework for those upgrading from a Class B to a Class A CDL.
The new regulations do not add or remove any exceptions from the required CDL skills test. Military drivers, farmers, and firefighters who are generally excepted from the CDL requirements in 49 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations), part 383, are also excepted from this rule.
New drivers looking to obtain a CDL must complete an ELDT theory course as well as behind-the-wheel training. There is no minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on the theory instruction. However, the instructor is required to cover all the curriculum topics set out by the FMCSA, and each driver must score above 80 percent when tested on those topics. For behind-the-wheel training, there is no minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on the elements of the Class A, Class B, P, or S endorsement instruction. It appears that training providers are still allowed to move their products and equipment while training applicants, with certain exemptions for hazardous materials.
The FMCSA has made a Training Provider Registry that will help CDL applicants connect with registered training providers who are self-certified to provide ELDT. You can sign up to receive news and updates from the FMCSA about the Training Provider Registry and the new requirements for CDL applicants, training providers, and state driver licensing agencies here.
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