New Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Begins Feb. 7, 2022
Posted: Dec 20 2021
WILLISTON, N.D. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 2016 Entry-Level Driver Training Final Rule established minimum training standards for individuals applying for a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time; individuals upgrading their CDL to a Class B or Class A; and individuals obtaining the following endorsements for the first time: Hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), and school bus (S). The ELDT final rule also defined curriculum standards for theory and behind-the-wheel (BTW) instruction for Class A and B CDLs and the P and S endorsements, and theory instruction requirements for the H endorsement. In addition, the ELDT final rule required that SDLAs verify ELDT completion before allowing the applicant to take a skills test for a Class A or Class B CDL, or a P or S endorsement; or a knowledge test prior to obtaining the H endorsement. The ELDT final rule also established the TPR, an online database which would allow ELDT providers to electronically register with FMCSA and certify that individual driver-trainees completed the required training. The rule set forth eligibility requirements for training providers to be listed on the TPR, including a certification, under penalty of perjury, that their training programs meet those requirements. The ELDT final rule, when fully implemented, will require training providers to register with the TPR, and thereafter electronically upload driver specific ELDT information to the TPR, which FMCSA will then verify before transmitting to the SDLA. The process is designed to deliver a finished ‘‘product’’ (i.e., verified driver specific ELDT information) to the end user, the SDLA, for their review prior to administering the CDL skills test or issuing the CDL credential.
The FMCSA 2016 ELDT Final Rule date was February 6, 2017, and a compliance date deadline of February 7, 2020. On July 18, 2019, FMCSA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Partial Extension of Compliance Date for Entry-Level Driver Training”. An Interim Final Rule was published February 4, 2020, extending the compliance date for the ELDT final rule, from February 7, 2020, to February 7, 2022.
This provided FMCSA additional time to develop the Training Provider Registry (TPR) and provide State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) time to modify their information technology (IT) systems and procedures, as necessary, to accommodate their receipt of driver specific ELDT data from the TRP.
There are two main parts to the upcoming changes for an entry-level CMV driver to receive a CDL.
Beginning February 7, 2022,
- Prospective entry-level CDL drivers can no longer challenge the DOT CDL driving test, without successfully completing the required training outlined by FMCSA through an approved and registered Training Provider. There is no change to how or when an individual can get their Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP).
- Training Providers must be registered and approved by FMCSA on the Training Provider Registry (TPR) site. All completed training will be entered into the TPR system, by the training providers. This allows the state DOT testing centers and approved 3rd Party Testers to verify students’ successful completion as required.
The overall goal with these changes is for consistency in the training that entry-level CDL drivers receive, and therefore, over time anticipate safer roads for all.
The TrainND Northwest team started working on the needed updates very early on. When these changes were first communicated out to the public by FMCSA, a thorough review of our curriculum was completed, and no major adjustments were required to meet the new rules. Our registration requirements for the TPR System have been met, as well as approved by FMCSA.
In addition to ensuring our CDL training programs follow these updates, we have continued to meet the North Dakota State requirements since the start of our CDL Training program in January 2006.
We have on-site NDDOT and CSTIMS approved, 3rd Party Testing to assist students and industry partners with limiting the length of time it can take to get an appointment at the local NDDOT Testing Centers or in the state that the student received their CLP.
We offer monthly open enrollment classes at our TrainND Northwest Campus in Williston and alternating months in Dickinson (on the DSU campus through a partnership) or Minot (classroom at the Minot Job Service and range/road portion at AGT Foods).
In January 2022, we will be lengthening our course from 120-hours to 165-hours. This not only benefits our entry-level driver students with increased time to learn new concepts but may be a solution for many of our industry partners. Many find it difficult to hire or even consider entry-level drivers that have recently received their CDL with minimal behind the wheel experience. We have heard from industry partners that insurance companies may allow them to hire entry-level drivers if they have successfully completed 165-hours of certificate based CDL Training. We highly recommend companies check with their insurance to verify what their policy is and if this is an option. This could potentially assist companies with filling a need for drivers in a high demand position.
Our updated Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Program is a four-week, 165-hour course that meets the new FMCSA Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations. This is a comprehensive program that provides students the opportunity to learn from experienced instructors, both in the classroom and behind the wheel. The classroom theory is a minimum of 30 hours and range or road the remaining hours at a 4:1 student to instructor ratio.
Students learn key commercial driving concepts and skills with hours of driving practice on the road, backing range, and in various driving conditions. Upon successful completion, students will be prepared and scheduled to take the state regulated CDL test in our truck and typically with our authorized 3rd Party Tester.
Students who are ready and successful in obtaining their CDL License prior to the end of this 165-hour course, are eligible to take offered post-CDL modules with job specific training.
Course fee includes all training materials and truck use. This course may be eligible for funding under Veteran’s Educational Benefits and WIOA funding. Businesses are encouraged to investigate N.D. Career Builders programs.
TrainND Northwest is prepared and ready to support the new requirements as well as assist our communities and industry partners with any potential challenges for getting the work force needs in our region taken care of.
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