In 2012, Congress directed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to establish new minimum training standards for individuals applying for a Class A or Class B commercial driver's license (CDL). The new requirements include a prescribed program of both knowledge and behind-the-wheel instruction provided by a training entity listed on FMCSA's new Training Provider Registry (TPR). Additionally, the new rules incorporate performance-based concepts by requiring driver-trainees to demonstrate driving proficiency and participation in classroom theory training.
To ensure distributors had adequate time to adjust to new driver training regulations, NBWA advocated for a delay in the implementation of the ELDT rule that was originally set to take effect on February 7, 2020. Since the rule establishes new CDL driver training standards, NBWA worked to ensure that implementation of the new regulation minimized stakeholder confusion and offered a smooth transition for those affected. As a result, the new training requirements were delayed for two full years and will now take effect on February 7, 2022.
- The Entry Level Diver Training (ELDT) rules apply to new drivers, in interstate or intrastate commerce, seeking a Class A or Class B CDL, an upgrade to their CDL or hazardous materials, passenger or school bus endorsement for their license for the first time. The requirements do not apply to those holding a valid CDL issued prior to February 7, 2022.
- Starting on February 7, 2022, entry-level driver applicants must complete a theory (knowledge) and behind-the-wheel (BTW) training program by a training provider listed on FMSCA's TPR.
- Potential TPR entities include training schools, educational institutions, motor carriers, owner-operators, individuals and others. Training providers are required to self-certify that they meet the ELDT standards. It is expected that the TPR will be open for registrants in the summer of 2021.
- The rule requires states, through their State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs), to verify if a new CDL applicant has completed the ELDT theory and BTW training before allowing the applicant to skills test for their CDL.
- The new rules do not replace or supersede state-based ELDT requirements that exceed the new federal requirements. Additional state-based requirements must also be met.
- The ELDT rule does not require any minimum number of hours for completion of any of the BTW training. The proficiency analysis of the BTW training is based solely on the training instructor's assessment of the trainee's performance of the required BTW elements. The rule does not require any minimum number of hours for completion of the theory requirements.