What You Can Expect with New Entry-Level Driver Training Regulations

After the better part of a decade, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is raising the professional standards for new drivers with a new training requirements.

The Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) should actually help the industry attract and hold more quality drivers and help off-set the current driver shortage.

Starting February 7, 2020, if you are interested in becoming a truck driver, you need to complete a training program before you can get a Class A or Class B Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). This training requires aspiring drivers to complete a curriculum of basic working knowledge and behind-the-wheel (BTW) instruction with one of the FMCSA’s registered training providers.

What are the new ELDT rules?

  • Minimum training requirements will now be set at the federal level

  • Training providers must record and report hours spent behind the wheel to the Department of Transportation

  • Training providers are required to register and self-certify students

  • Instructors are now required to have a minimum two years of driving experience, a clean MVR, and a medical certification for classroom, both on the road and private range instruction

  • Curriculum consisting of 31 theory course topics and 19 BTW skills will be tested at the state Department of Motor Vehicles

Any organization that provides ELDT that meets state’s requirements can be a training provider. However, after February 7, 2020, the new Training Provider Registry (TPR) will require CDL training providers to apply in order to join the registry.

What are the costs for ELDT programs?

ELDT programs can cost up to $10,000, but because of the value of hiring a trained driver, there are companies that offer students reimbursement plans. In fact, a student could receive up to $300 per month towards the cost of tuition. There are no contractual agreements and the student receives the reimbursement money as long as they drive for the company.

What are the risks for carriers with ELDT?

Unfortunately, a lot of logistics companies are seeing their drivers quit just months after completing their ELDT. When this happens, the company is now down an employee and the thousands of dollars that paid for their training. This is a major financial risk and is the reason why more companies are opting out of paying for ELDT.

How does ELDT benefit the industry?

Undoubtedly, the stability that comes along with a company-paid training program is a big consideration for potential drivers, and companies that offer reimbursement for ELDT are showing drivers that they are dedicated to their employees. Another major benefit of the ELDT regulations is having more fully-trained drivers on the road who are safe. Moreover, the rise in quality drivers could help combat driver shortage in the industry.