Yesterday (Feb 7th, 2022), a new mandate from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) concerning Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) went into effect. The simple breakdown, the federal government (specifically, the DOT) ruled that anyone seeking to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), must first undergo training that meets specific federally mandated standards. These regulations are intended to establish a single national standard to enhance the safety of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operations on our nation’s highways. It can be easy to let new rules and regulations make you nervous, especially with a name like “49 CFR 380.503” in the mix. Not to worry, we’ve prepared the information below to help you understand the new ELDT mandate who it affects, and what it means for your fleet. Before we get started, it’s important to note that the new Federal requirements don’t supersede or replace any state-level requirements that may exceed these minimum standards.
Who Must Obtain Entry-Level Driver Training?
Previously, carriers were required to provide ELDT training to any driver with less than one year of driving experience. The new ELDT transfers the burden off of the carrier and onto drivers in certain categories. So, who must obtain an ELDT?
- Drivers who are first time Class A or Class B CDL applicants
- CDL drivers who wish to upgrade a class B to a class A license
- Those who are seeking a school bus (S) endorsement for the first time
- First time CDL applicants for a passenger (P) endorsement
- Drivers wishing to obtain a HAZMAT (H) endorsement for the first time
Who is Exempt From the ELDT Mandate?
The new ELDT regulations are not retroactive meaning that if you already hold your CDL or have an S, P, or H endorsement the new mandate does not apply to you.
- Drivers who were issued a CDL or an S, P, or H endorsement prior to February 7, 2022
- Applicants who obtain a commercial learners permit (CLP) prior to February 7, 2022
- Drivers who meet one of the exceptions for taking a skills test in “49 CFR Part 383”
- Anyone who is reinstating a CDL that was originally issued prior to February 7, 2022
How Will the Rules Change?
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Will I be Required to Become an Approved Training Provider?
If you are a company that trains entry-level drivers who have not yet obtained their CDL then yes, as an organization that offers training you will be required to become an approved training provider. It is important to note, individual instructors are not required to register with the TPR. Instead, it’s up to training providers to vet instructors and ensure they meet all necessary requirements. To become an approved training provider, you must apply to be listed in the DOT’s training provider registry (TPR). This rule applies to all companies, including private fleets that provide training to new CDL drivers.
How Will the New FMCSA ELDT Mandate Impact My Fleet?
If your drivers meet any of the above-listed criteria, for obtaining ELDT you must ensure that they have obtained the proper training from an approved training provider authorized to deliver ELDT. Fleet managers who hire entry-level drivers will be required to inspect their drivers’ files to ensure they are compliant. The real impact of the ELDT however may come in an initial increase in time to hire as fleets already facing driver shortage will now have to wait longer for new drivers to be certified as ‘road-ready.’
The New Road
As of this week, obtaining a Class A or Class B CDL, as well as a bus driver, passenger, and HAZMAT endorsements will now become a more detailed and lengthy process. Carriers looking to get out in front of the talent acquisition line will need to revamp their recruiting strategies to account for the new mandate. It’s time to take a look at your fleet’s hiring process to find any bottlenecks that may be causing additional holdups in your talent funnel and remove them.
Work4 is the trucking industry’s number one provider of recruitment marketing technology. We can help carriers increase their qualified leads and reduce their time to fill through a variety of customizable systems. Contact us today to see how we can help. If you want to see more information on the ELDT Mandate, our partners over at DriverReach have an on-demand webinar titled “Breaking Down the FMCSA’s Upcoming ELDT Mandate” that has some helpful information.