Final Rule: Entry-Level Minimum Training Requirements

Entry-Level Driver Training Image

The FMCSA and DOT published the Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators final rule on December 8, 2016. The FMCSA believes this final rule enhances the safety of commercial motor vehicle operations on our Nation’s highways by establishing a minimum standard of entry-level driver training (ELDT) and increasing the number of drivers who receive ELDT.

Purpose of Entry-Level Driver Training Final Rule

According to the rule, the purpose of the ELDT requirement is to establish new minimum standards for certain individuals applying for their commercial driver’s license (CDL).

These certain individuals include:

  • Those applying for their CMV for the first time
  • Those upgrading their CDL (e.g., a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL)
  • Those seeking a hazardous materials (H), passenger (P) or school bus (S) endorsement for the first time

Individuals who fall into at least one of the above classifications must complete a prescribed program of instruction provided by an entity listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR).

Please note, military drivers, farmers, and firefighters who are generally exempt from the CDL requirements are also considered exempt from this rule.

Major Provisions of Entry-Level Driver Training Final Rule

The rule establishes Class A and Class B CDL core curricula and training curricula including passenger, school bus and hazardous materials (H) endorsements.

The core and endorsement curricula generally are subdivided into theory (knowledge) and behind-the-wheel (BTW) (range and public road) segments. There is no minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on the theory portions of any of the individual curricula. However, training providers must provide instruction in all elements of the applicable theory curriculum and driver-trainees must receive an overall score of at least 80 percent on the theory assessment.

The BTW curricula for the Class A and Class B CDL, comprised of range and public road segments, include discrete maneuvers which each driver-trainee must proficiently demonstrate to the satisfaction of the training instructor. Again, there is no minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on the BTW elements of the core or endorsement curricula. However, the training provider must not issue the training certificate unless the driver-trainee demonstrates proficiency in performing all required BTW skills.

Additionally, providers must submit electronic notification to FMCSA that an individual completed the required training; the Agency will provide that information to the SDLAs through the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS).

**UPDATE: This final rule was originally set to go into effect February 6, 2017. However, the Presidential directive, entitled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,” delayed the effective date three times. It was originally delayed to March 21, 2017, further delayed to May 22, 2017, and then further delayed until June 5, 2017. The final rule still has a compliance date of February 7, 2020.

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