Looking Back and Looking Ahead on ELDT’s One-Year Anniversary

February 10, 2023

February 7, 2023, marks the one-year anniversary of the implementation of the entry-level driver training (ELDT) rule. So, how has it gone and what’s next? Let’s take a look.

A new era begins

February 7, 2022, marked the beginning of a new era for driver training. As of that date, ELDT is required for anyone:

  1. Obtaining an initial Class A or Class B CDL;
  2. Upgrading from a Class B to Class A CDL; or
  3. Obtaining an initial passenger, school bus, or hazardous materials endorsement.

Individuals must complete a course of theory and behind-the-wheel training offered by an entity listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Training Provider Registry (TPR). To be listed on the TPR, an entity must meet specific requirements related to everything from curriculum to facilities.

Early challenges

ELDT’s early challenges revolved around making sure all drivers, motor carriers, and state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) were on the same page when it came to understanding and applying the requirements.

Many drivers and carriers were unsure who was subject to the new rule. Training providers were unsure of the registration process. Some SDLAs needed to shore up their policies and procedures to match the rulemaking’s requirements.

Within a few months, these questions subsided, and the issues became more driver and carrier specific.

Waiver requests

As the year progressed, FMCSA started to receive ELDT-related exemption requests from various entities, including schools/training providers, trade-specific organizations/industries, individuals, and state government.

So far, FMCSA has denied all but two of these exemption requests. In its exemption denials, the agency stated that the requested exemptions would not meet or exceed the level of safety in the existing regulation.

One exception that was granted applies to the issuance of initial CDLs that restricts the driver to operation in specific, remote areas of Alaska. The other exemption was granted to an individual, allowing him to conduct hazardous materials endorsement theory instruction without meeting the ELDT instructor requirements. This individual has decades of experience as a certified hazardous materials and tank inspector and instructor.

It is expected that exemption requests will continue in 2023

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