What to Expect from the ELDT Mandate

The Entry-Level Driver Training mandate, proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), went into effect on February 7, 2022. These policies will regulate the baseline for entry-level driver training requirements. These rules apply to individuals who are:

  • Obtaining a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time
  • Upgrading an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL
  • Getting a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time.

The exceptions to this new mandate are as followed:

  • Professional Drivers who already possess a CDL or an S, P or H endorsement before the ELDT mandate start date
  • Those who obtain a CDL before their Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) expires

Why is the Entry-Level Driver Training Mandate Important?

As it currently stands, every state and driving school has the liberty to set its own training standards. This means that the current 3.5 million truck drivers have received various interpretations of classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction.

Since 1985, the FMCSA has been working with industry experts to develop a regulated standard of training. This regulated training will keep the roads safer, not only for truck drivers but for everyone.

How will ELDT Affect CDL Training for Students?

The ELDT mandate will now require driving schools to split their curriculum into two sections: classroom/theory and behind-the-wheel.

CDL Instructors are required to teach the theory section first, and it must consist of at least 30 areas specified by the Department of Transportation. After receiving at least an 80 percent score on the written or electronic CDL test, this portion is complete. If a driver training student does not receive training from an authorized training provider, they will not be allowed to sit for the CDL Skills Exam. Throughout the behind-the-wheel portion, CDL schools must document every student’s total amount of time driving behind the wheel and teach basic vehicle control skills. Driver training students must also complete this section on a driving range or public road in an actual vehicle, not a simulator. For example, if someone is working to obtain a Class A CDL, they must do their behind-the-wheel instruction in a Class A commercial vehicle.

ELDT Mandate Resources

Resources are available to learn more about the ELDT mandate.

The Commercial Vehicle Training Association is the largest association of commercial truck driving schools. Their primary goal is to work with carriers and associate members, such as Advanced Career Institute, on critical industry issues and highway safety through quality training.

Lastly, the Training Provider Registry is the FMCSA’s web portal to help prospective students find and locate training providers who have registered and been approved to teach the ELDT-approved curriculum. It will also keep records of CDL applicants that have completed the required entry-level driver training course. It will be the best place to find answers to all your questions concerning ELDT.

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