Drivers interested in acquiring or upgrading a commercial driver’s license (CDL) soon will be required to complete additional federal training before taking the driving test.
Entry-level driver training (ELDT) is FMCSA’s minimum training standard for commercial license holders and applicants.
Beginning Feb. 7, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will require drivers in all states to complete this training if they wish to do any of the following:
- Apply for a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time.
- Upgrade an existing CDL (Class B CDL to Class A CDL).
- Add a hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S) endorsement to their existing CDL for the first time.
The new requirements will provide a national standard to ensure that new drivers have the same minimum level of competence and safety. But they will increase the cost of training drivers, says Omar Gomez-Mulero, safety and training manager at Affordable Limousine in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“They’ll need to go through training to be able to get their license,” says Gomez-Mulero, noting that Affordable Limousine is providing in-house training that meets the new FMCSA requirements. “We’ll be able to do that for our own drivers and people we are hiring, but we won’t be able to do it for everybody.”
Previously, people could study the CDL book and take a written test for a permit, then practice with a friend’s vehicle for the driving test. Now, would-be drivers will have to show they received training from an FMCSA-approved program.
“There’s an training requirement, which is good, but it’s going to be more expensive for people to get their licenses than if they were doing it on their own,” Gomez-Mulero says.
He added that CDL applicants who pass their written test for a learner’s permit by Feb. 7 will be grandfathered in under the old rules.
State agencies that issue commercial driver licenses will be required to verify CDL applicants’ ELDT completion. Commercial driver training providers are required to upload an individual driver’s training certification to the FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry.
The registry will be the hub for this new safety-focused requirement. Organizations that provide the required ELDT must register on the Training Provider Registry. Driver applicants seeking to locate classes will use the Training Provider Registry to find the provider that best fits their needs.
For more information about the ELDT regulations and the Training Provider Registry, visit tpr.fmcsa.dot.gov.