Are You Ready for the Driver Training Rule?

Lindsey Bergeron

MAY 30, 2019 – In just about nine months, the entry-level driver training rule (ELDT) will go into effect. This rule will not only impact new drivers, but driver training schools and carriers that provide their own CDL training programs, as well – both of which will be required to follow a new set of training standards. In most cases, these programs will need to follow a much more comprehensive curriculum than they had previously.

The objective of the rule is to standardize the educational curriculum around CDL driver training and ensure entry-level drivers everywhere are given adequate classroom time and driving hours to prepare them for a truck driving career. Right now, the DOT only requires that training programs include instruction in four specific areas:

  • Hours of service
  • Driver qualification and disqualification
  • Health and wellness
  • Whistleblower protection

When the rule goes into effect on February 7, 2020, the DOT will require that training programs provide 31 theory courses as well as 19 behind-the-wheel skills courses. To pass the program, students must score an 80 percent in their theory courses and demonstrate proficiency in all of the required driving skills.

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Who Will be Impacted?

Entry-level drivers in either interstate or intrastate commerce who want to apply for a Class A or Class B commercial driver’s license (CDL) will be required to meet the new training requirements once they go into effect. The requirements will also impact current CMV drivers who are upgrading their CDL with a hazardous materials, passenger or school bus endorsement.

Drivers who earned their CDL or endorsements prior to the February 7, 2020 effective date won’t be impacted by the change.

The rule will also impact training providers, who will be required to self-certify that they provide a curriculum that aligns with the new DOT requirements. These providers will then be listed on a Training Provider Registry that will be established and maintained by the FMCSA. In addition to teaching the required curriculum, providers must meet requirements related to course administration, qualifications for instructional personnel, assessments, issuance of training certificates and training vehicles.

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What About a CDL Upgrade?

 Since the final rule was published in 2016, it has been amended to address drivers who want to upgrade from a Class B to a Class A CDL. Moving forward, drivers upgrading their commercial license will not be required to go through the full training program. Instead, they can go through a streamlined educational curriculum that eliminates the need for redundant coursework and gets them on the road with their Class A license faster.

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About the Author

Lindsey Bergeron is Editor of the Foley blog. Serving as transportation guru, she keeps an eye on the industry and its day-to-day evolution and developments, specifically writing about the various lifestyle, business and regulatory topics that are most relevant to motor carriers. Holding a degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Connecticut, she ran a successful content marketing firm before joining Foley at its Hartford hub. Her current expertise in transportation writing is built upon an extensive background in editing, feature writing and content development.

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