The federal government was about to enforce changes to entry-level CDL training, but at the last minute pulled the plug on new CDL requirements in 2020, according to Overdrive. New CDL requirements in 2020 were supposed to go into effect February 7. However, due to public concerns and comments, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is delaying the changes until 2022, explaining they want to make sure the new rule is as efficient as possible. Known as the Entry-Level Training (ELDT) rule, the planned change is historic in that it is the first time that the federal government is attempting to standardize CDL training across state lines. The delay to 2022 is good news for CDL training schools who will have to update curriculum. Yet, it also slows down the positive impact the government is hoping the changes will have on the trucking industry.
So, what are the proposed changes, why is the government doing this, and how could they affect the trucking industry once enforced?
What are the proposed changes?
The new rule will outline what someone should learn both in the classroom and behind the wheel before obtaining their CDL. Here are the main things everyone should know about the ELDT rule.
- There is more of an emphasis on what the driver should learn in the classroom, and how high they should score on the final test. They need to score at least an 80% on their final test. Keep in mind that there are other things, aside from this training rule, that can disqualify you from obtaining your CDL.
- On the flip side, there will no longer be a required minimum number of hours behind the wheel. This means, if you’re a fast learner behind the wheel and you test high enough, you’re good to go. If it takes you longer to catch on before you get the score you need, you’ll be in training longer.
- There will be 31 theory course topics instead of the four they have now. In addition, there will be 19 behind-the-wheel skills.
- The training will include basic operation of a truck, understanding the control systems and all of the available tools on the dashboard. Drivers will also need to fully perform pre and post inspections and be able to back and dock the truck. In addition to those basic things, training will also include knowing how to handle distracted driving, roadside inspections, hours of service and all the regulations.
- There will be 31 theory course topics and 19 behind-the-wheel skills.
- This one is going to be very interesting. Now that there are these two required sections of training – classroom and behind-the-wheel-driving – driving simulators will no longer be an approved method of training.
- CDL training schools will need approval from the FMCSA. The FMCSA will list all approved schools in a Training Provider Registry. At this time, they’re still building this database.
- Last but not least, if you already have your CDL – you’re in the clear. You don’t have to go back and participate in this new training. The rule only applies to entry level drivers entering the industry for the first time.
Why did the federal government propose new CDL Requirements in 2020?
The federal government is trying to make the CDL training process more consistent. In addition, it’s no secret that trucking companies struggle to hire and retain truck drivers. The hope is that by lessening the burden on training centers and applicants, more people will arrive at their CDL faster.
How could these changes affect the trucking industry?
As mentioned above, the government’s goal in making these changes is to better streamline the CDL training process. In theory it should cut classroom instruction time about 27 hours per applicant. Right now, each state has its own rules surrounding driver training. These changes will make it so that each state must, at minimum, meet these requirements. States that have requirements beyond these won’t need to those additional requirements out if they don’t want to. The delay is a good thing in that it will give everyone in the trucking industry more time to ask the FMCSA questions and better understand what is expected of them going forward.
Where can I get more information on the ELDT?
So, if you have questions, where can you get them answered? All of your questions should be directed to the FMCSA. You can reach out to them here with questions about the ELDT.
How do you feel about the fact that there are no new CDL requirements in 2020? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!