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Entry Level Driver Training: What You Need To Know

08 Dec 2021 9:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

By Dan Horwath, Vice President of Safety Policy - American Trucking Association

New federal Entry-Level Driver Training requirements will go into effect February 7, 2022, establishing a single, national standard for obtaining a commercial driver’s license. The revised ELDT regs apply only to drivers seeking to:

  1. Obtain a CDL for the first time;
  2. Upgrade their existing CDL from Class B to Class A; or 
  3. Obtain a new hazmat, passenger or school bus endorsement.

In other words: current CDL holders are not affected by and large. 

This has been a long-time coming. The new ELDT was first mandated by Congress back in 2012, before the rulemaking process and IT issues at the state and federal levels caused successive years of delay. We do not anticipate any further delays beyond February 7.

So what’s actually changing? For organizations that have a structured program in place today, the truth is – not much

Despite false rumors spreading on social media, the process for obtaining a CDL will not markedly differ from what takes place today. Prospective drivers will be required to pass a theory / knowledge test and a road / skills test. 

The new ELDT simply means everyone will be using the same curriculum nationwide. In fact, FMCSA estimates that 85% of entry-level drivers already receive training curricula that meet the ELDT requirements. 

There are no minimum training hours required nor new exorbitant costs associated with the ELDT. Prospective drivers do not have to go to a truck driver training school and can still receive training from the same places: educational institutions, motor carriers, rural cooperatives, school districts, joint labor-management programs, CMV schools and other venues. Meaning, if a carrier conducts in-house training today, they’ll be able to do so after the new ELDT rule becomes effective. 

The ELDT will require training providers to register with the national Training Provider Registry, making it easier for prospective drivers to find training centers.

Visit FMCSA at Training Provider Registry (dot.gov).


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