FMCSA Implements New Training Requirements
After six years of developing a new training program for those looking to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that, as of February 7, 2022, all new applicants will have to complete an entry-level driver training course (ELDT). This requirement applies to anyone who has not previously obtained a CDL, those looking to upgrade their Class B to a Class A, or those seeking a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous material (H) endorsement for the first time.
This is the first instance since CDL implementation that the FMCSA has enforced a significant blanket policy.
What Does the Training Program Include?
Established in December 2016, the ELDT program has two separate parts. These sections include theory training and a seperate behind-the-wheel training that a certified instructor must conduct through the agency's Training Provider Registry. The introductory presentation outlines the following:
There are four main takeaways from this section of training, including:
- Applicants will do this through lectures, demonstrations, and online learning.
- Drivers will be able to use a simulator.
- They must score a minimum of 80% on the final assessment to pass, but no minimum hour requirement exists for this assessment.
- Topics will cover basic and safe operating procedures, advanced operation, systems and reporting malfunctions, and non-driving activities (like administrative tasks).
In contrast, this training includes:
- Drivers must operate a commercial motor vehicle (simulators are not allowed in this section).
- This driving will take place on a range or a public road.
- There are no minimum driving hours, but proficiency is determined at the instructor's discretion.
- Applicants will learn basic vehicle control and mastery of these skills.
Ultimately, the agency has determined that this new requirement will be overtly positive and reduce the number of potential collisions resulting from inexperienced drivers.
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