As of June 2017, a new federal trucking regulation that requires specific training for entry-level truckers took effect. This rule provides a three-year compliance window for motor carriers, trainers and others, and it will impact truck drivers who receive their commercial drivers’ licenses (CDLs) on or after February 7, 2020.
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Details of the New DOT Training Rule
According to the Final Rule (Rule) issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the new training regulation for entry-level truckers:
- Establishes a “core” curriculum – Referred to as the “Entry-Level Driver Training” or ELDT program, the curriculum pertains to the safety knowledge (or “theory”) that new truckers are require to learn. While the new Rule does not set a minimum number of hours for the theory portion of training, it does require drivers to score at least 80 percent on a “theory assessment” (a written or electronic test) in order to fulfill this requirement.
- Requires behind-the-wheel (BTW) training – This BTW training includes “range” driving, as well as driving on public roads. Like the theory portion of the curricula, the BTW training is not associated with a minimum number of training hours. Instead, the Rule only requires that trainees are able to demonstrate proficiency with “discrete maneuvers… to the satisfaction of the training instructor.” When trainees complete this aspect of the ELDT program, trainers will directly notify the FMCSA (upon confirming completion of BTW training, the FMCSA will then notify the state driver’s license bureau).
- Sets up a federal registry of FMCSA-approved trainers – Officially known as the Training Provider Registry (TPR), this list includes the names of all FMCSA-approved trainers for the ELDT program. In establishing the TPR, the Final Rule also sets forth the eligibility requirements for being listed on the TPR, as well as recordkeeping and reporting requirements for trainers included on this Registry.
According to regulators, this training regulation for entry-level truckers is expected to save the trucking industry roughly $2.4 billion by improving the efficiency of trucking operations while reducing crashes and vehicle repair costs.
Summing up the importance of this rule, former U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has explained:
Ensuring that drivers are properly trained is a critical element in improving road safety for everyone… The entry-level training standards for large truck and bus operators put forth…exemplify a commitment to safety from a broad coalition of commercial motor vehicle stakeholders.
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