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Starting in early 2022, some CDL and endorsement applicants will be required to meet new training standards due to an upcoming Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rule change.


What is the FMCSA’s Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT)  and When Does it go into Effect?

The FMCSA’s new rule goes into effect starting February 7, 2022. The ELDT Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on December 7, 2016, nearly 6 years ago. The compliance date was pushed back from February 7, 2020 – to February 7, 2022 to allow state drivers license agencies time to update their technology infrastructure, procedures, and budgeting allocation to properly record driver course completion data and information.

The ELDT rule establishes a set of minimum requirements for entry-level driver training standards for those who provide training and those who are applying for a CDL.

The rule will apply to the applicants who want to:

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

Training will be required from applicants, which can be obtained from a provider listed on the FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry. Training must be completed before taking a CDL skills test or if the driver is applying for the H endorsement (knowledge test). The rule does not cover individuals for whom States have waived the CDL skills test under 49 CFR 383.


What is the Training Provider Registry?

The Training Provider Registry is an FMCSA database that will contain the official list of all entities that register with FMCSA and self-certify they meet the requirements for being an entry-level driver training provider. The database will also retain a record of which drivers have successfully completed entry-level driver training for States to access.


Is the a Minimum Number of Hours Required for Training?

There is NO minimum number of hours required for either knowledge / theory training or behind the wheel training under the new ELDT rule. The only requirement is that “applicants seeking a CDL would be required to demonstrate proficiency in knowledge training and behind-the-wheel training on a driving range and on a public road, with training obtained from an instructional program that meets FMCSA standards.”

The rule is NOT retroactive, so those who were issued a CDL or an S, P, or H endorsement before February 7, 2022 are not required to complete training for the respective CDL or endorsement.


What Training Will CDL Applicants Receive?

The Training Provider Registry ensures that entry-level drivers receive training and demonstrate proficiency in the following areas:


1. Knowledge / Theory Training

Under the new rule, CDL applicants can receive training from lectures, demonstrations, computer based and online learning, etc. Simulators could be used as well. may use a simulator. Drivers must score at least 80% on the assessment.

Training topics during theory training include:

  • Basic Operation
  • Safe Operating Procedures
  • Advanced Operation Procedures
  • Vehicle Systems and Reporting Malfunctions
  • Non-Driving Activities (e.g., Hours of Service)


2. Behind the Wheel (BTW) Training

Drivers will learn through behind-the-wheel experiences (actual operation of a CMV), combined with an instructor-narrated drive demonstrating basic vehicle control skills and mastery of
basic maneuvers. Training typically takes place on a range or public road. You may NOT use a simulator to meet BTW training requirements. The person providing the training will determine the drivers proficiency.


What Does ELDT Regulations Require of Training Providers?

Training providers wishing to provide entry-level driver training must register and self-certify that they meet all FMCSA requirements that apply to:

  • Curricula
  • Facilities
  • Instructors
  • State Licensing
  • Vehicles

After a driver successfully completes the required training, the training provider must electronically submit the driver-trainee’s training certification information to the Training Provider Registry. This must be submitted by midnight of the second business day after the driver-trainee completes the training.


What Does ELDT Regulations Require of State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs)?

The State Driver Licensing Agencies must verify that the applicant has completed the required entry-level driver training before administering the relevant skills or knowledge test.


ELDT Rule Exceptions

The ELDT regulations do not apply to those excepted from the CDL requirements under 49 CFR part 383.

This includes:


Where Can I Find More Information About the ELDT Rule?

For additional information on the ELDT rule, please visit the FMCSA website.

You may also contact the FMCSA’s Office of Safety Programs:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Office of Safety Programs
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590


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