In The News

Regulators: Mount Up

By Brandon Scott - Staff Writer
Posted Apr 29th 2022 8:00AM

Just when you thought the gap-widening driver shortage can’t get any more difficult to maneuver, the new entry-level driver training (ELDT) rules quietly went into nationwide effect back on February 7th of this year. Making what was once a simple obligation, for many carriers, to fully train and onboard their newly hired commercial drivers, a now fully regulated and flat-out legally licensed procedure.

For some, the new entry-level driver training rules will seem like a petty blip on the old radar. It will amount to no more than an added requirement or two in order to allow new commercial drivers the ability to obtain their commercial driver’s license. For others, this will make bringing in warm bodies for empty trucks a more tenuous task when it comes to properly hiring and seating an individual who’s looking for work.

Who Does This Target?

Now that the effective date has come and gone, companies that have traditionally trained prospective drivers in an in-house capacity have some new standards to follow. This also bodes similarly for individuals who are looking at obtaining their commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the first time.

Prior to getting their Class A or Class B license for the first time, or upgrading an existing CDL to a higher class, or obtaining a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time, drivers will have to receive commercial training from a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)-registered training provider.

Drivers will continue to be allowed to take the commercial learner’s knowledge test without receiving the entry-level training, but that will only allow them to obtain their commercial learner’s permit. For them to receive their full license, they’ll need to undergo the approved training procedures.

Any carrier that has traditionally trained and hired newbies to place behind the wheel will have to be certain that they’ve properly prepared the driver through an FMCSA-registered training provider.

Who Gets a Pass?

Any driver who is seeking to have a restriction removed, any driver who has had their state waive the CDL skills test, and drivers who have already been carrying a valid CDL, learner’s permit or an S, P, or H endorsement prior to the effective date of February 7, 2022, will be exempt from having to undertake the entry-level training.

So, Who Is a Certified Training Provider?

Anyone who wants to be considered an ELDT-based training provider must apply to be added to the Training Provider Registry that is monitored and maintained by the FMCSA. This includes any employer that conducts in-house training programs which are developed and intended to help drivers in getting their CDL.

So, in easy-to-read terms, if you’ve already obtained your commercial driver’s license prior to the effective date then you should have no problem. Unless, of course, you’re looking to upgrade your CDL Class or endorsements. If you have yet to get your CDL, then you will have no choice but to make sure you receive your training from an FMCSA-registered training provider.

It would behoove companies and driver training outfits to dot their “i’s” and cross their “t’s” before catering to new drivers, just as much as it would also be at a potential driver’s behest to do the same.

Happy training!