ELDTAC Achieves Consensus

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DATE: MAY 29, 2015

For the past 24 years, the federal government has sought to establish minimum training requirements for entry-level drivers seeking a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Despite numerous federal laws requiring the establishment of such requirements and several attempts by the Department of Transportation, these previous efforts have failed to produce a viable regulation.

At the beginning of the year, CVTA secured a position on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Entry Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC). CVTA’s carrier/schools, Stevens Transport, was also appointed to the ELDTAC. This select group of 26 industry stakeholders was tasked with formulating minimum requirements for pre-CDL training programs. Starting in February 2015, the ELDTAC met regularly in order to determine what knowledge and skills all future Class A & B CDL holders should know and demonstrate before sitting for the CDL skills exam.

I am proud to announce that the ELDTAC has come to consensus on minimum training requirements, and even more proud to say that I believe such requirements will be beneficial for both our members and our industry. Though the agreed-upon rule still faces challenges and hurdles ahead, I write to you now in order to provide you with an overview of the agreed upon rule, CVTA’s views on it, and of the next steps that will be taken as we move towards the Agreement’s adoption.

I. The Basics of ELDTAC Agreement

The ELDTAC’s agreed upon rule for minimum entry-level driver training requirements (the “ELDTAC Agreement” or “the Agreement”) will serve as the basis of a rulemaking the FMCSA will publish this fall. The Agreement’s major tenants will require each Class A Pre-CDL training provider to do the following:

  • Administer a performance-based knowledge and skills curriculum, which must cover the topics contained in the core curriculum created by the ELDTAC and provide no less than 30 hours of behind the wheel training (10 academic hours road, 10 academic hours range, and 10 academic hours flex);
  • Sign up for the FMCSA’s National Registry of Training Providers. Registration will be contingent on approval by FMCSA and must be completed prior to administering training (CVTA schools and others (including PDTI, NAPFTDS, and accredited schools) will be considered initially approved on the national registry)
  • Certify that their trainees have been taught both the knowledge and skills portions of the core curriculum and are competent drivers based on their performance; and
  • Send their student/trainee certifications to the FMCSA/SDLAs before a student/trainee can sit for the CDL skills test.

*Please note that ELDTAC also approved a Class B Curriculum, requiring 15 hours of BTW with a minimum of 7 hours on the road. ELDTAC also approved specific curriculums for HazMat and Passenger Endorsements.

II. CVTA’s views on the ELDTAC Agreement

CVTA is proud of the ELDTAC Agreement. We believe that this Agreement is a win for driver training programs, the trucking industry, and the safety of our roads – the rule is performance-based, and unlike the proposed 2007 rule, does not mandate overall programmatic hours or accreditation.

Since 2007, CVTA has supported a performance-based approach to training. Under the ELDTAC Agreement, training providers will have to certify that their students/trainees are competent drivers and that their students have been instructed in both knowledge and skills topics as set forth by the ELDTAC core curriculum. While the Agreement does require a minimum of 30 hours of behind the wheel training, this will not impact CVTA member schools, which are already required to exceed this amount of training time.

Finally, this Agreement will increase the safety of our roads by making it much harder for CDL mills to operate. The Agreement’s minimum training requirements demand that CDL mills either shape up or shut down, and its use of third party validators – including CVTA – will help the FMCSA to police the industry on an ongoing basis.

We are thrilled to put forth an Agreement that implements a carefully crafted set of driver training regulations, which dramatically increase safety standards for our industry while ensuring that legitimate programs currently in operation are not overburdened by unnecessary or ineffective training requirements.

III. Next Steps – Remaining Hurdles for the ELDTAC Agreement

Though the ELDTAC has achieved consensus on the major tenants of the proposed regulation, the FMCSA still has much work to do before the ELDTAC Agreement is officially implemented. A brief overview of these hurdles is outlined below.

First, the FMCSA will need to draft the actual language of the proposed rule based upon the ELDTAC Agreement. This proposed rule, which is set for publication on or before October 15, 2015, will articulate the same basic tenants of the ELDTAC Agreement, which are described in the previous section.

In addition to drafting the actual text of the proposed rule, the FMCSA will also need to provide a regulatory impact analysis, as it does with every proposed rule. Though the requirements of these laws vary, all of them essentially require the FMCSA to show that this rule is well thought-out and not unnecessarily burdensome or costly.

Finally, once the proposed rule is published, it will follow traditional notice and comment procedures during which outside groups will be able to comment on the draft language. The FMCSA will then read through and incorporate these comments into the finalized version of the rule.

While CVTA is pleased with the proposed rule, and confident that it will clear OMB, largely survive the notice and comment period in its current form, and withstand judicial scrutiny, we want members to understand that the ELDTAC agreement has many hurdles ahead, and will not take effect for several more years.


The remaining hurdles notwithstanding, we are extremely pleased with the rule that ELTAC has agreed upon and consider it an incredible win for the trucking industry, for the safety of our roads, and for our members.

Should you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact Don Lefeve or Alice Smith at 703-642-9444.


United Truck Driving School Featured in KRA Monthly Spotlight

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Jordan, who aptly entitled the article Short Road To Success For The Long Haul, reported, “Brian Smith came to the Career Center, in November 2014, to pursue his career goal of becoming an interstate long-haul truck driver. Having relocated to San Diego from Montana, the year before, he realized that his series of ‘dead end’ jobs wasn’t working for him, even though he was working.”

Why was Brian so confident about a career in long-haul trucking?  He explained, “My father and brother are both truckers, mostly cattle haulers in the ‘Lower 48′, based out of Montana.  I would go on the road with my dad as a kid, so I know what it’s like and what it takes to be a long-haul trucker. He helped me develop a real passion for it... Continue reading...




CVTA Testifies Before California Senate Committee

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On April 14th, Don Lefeve (CVTA), Bob Schauer (Western Pacific Truck School) and Roger Smith (American Truck Schools), testified before the California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on Senate Bill 344. Senate Bill 344 is a bill that would create driver training standards in California and close the “CDL mill loophole.” While CVTA is supportive of the goals of this legislation, Don, Bob, and Roger spoke about amending this legislation to expand skills testing to allow third party testers to help reduce the severe skills testing backlog in California. Current wait times are between 30-60 days currently. Retest times are the near the same time.

CVTA Participation in California Senate Hearing   CVTA Participation in California Senate Hearing
Watch the Full Senate Bill 344 Video   CVTA's Testimony Only

Truck Driver Shortage Means Thousands of Jobs Need to be Filled

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A national shortage of truck drivers means companies are looking to fill tens of thousands of jobs in the coming years.


At the Tennessee Truck Driving School in Louisville, CDL Instructor Sean Henson said they typically train 400 to 500 new drivers every year. But that doesn't come close to filling the gap for what's needed.

Henson said there are several reasons for the shortage of drivers. The biggest is that the average age of current drivers is between 55 and 65 and more drivers retire every year than what come into the business. He also said that the improving economy means there is more stuff being built and nearly all that product is moved by trucks... Continue reading.



Driving Skill Outweighs Classroom Time for New Truckers, Training Experts Say

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By Jonathan S. Reiskin, Associate News Editor
This story appears in the March 23 print edition of Transport Topics.

Getting students to demonstrate competence at necessary skills is a better way to train future truck drivers compared with setting standards for hours logged in classrooms, several driver-training professionals said during a Transport Topics Web broadcast.


The Commercial Vehicle Training Association, which represents driver-training schools, also backs performance-based standards, said Donald Lefeve, its president.

“CVTA led the fight against hourly standards [the basis of the 2007 training rule]. Hours trained is not related to safety,” he said. One of Lefeve’s vice presidents also is on the FMCSA advisory committee... Continue reading.



Replay: LiveOnWeb Spotlight on Driver Training

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An FMCSA committee will be meeting March 19 to try to craft a rule on minimum training standards for entry level commercial vehicle drivers.

One day before that meeting, two people who are closely connected to that decision-making process joined us for a special LiveOnWeb focused on Driver Training.

Committee member Boyd Stephenson of American Trucking Associations, and Don Lefeve, president of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association... Continue reading.



Trucking Hopeful CDL Committee Will Set Standards, Improve Rulemaking Process - Includes CVTA CEO, Don Lefeve's Comments

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by in Running Lights

As far as federal government acronyms go, ELDTAC is standard issue and unwieldy. Many in trucking, however, are hopeful that those six letters will help spell out a long-overdue driver training standard—and might even lead the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) toward a user-friendly revamp of the way regulations are developed.

ELDTAC stands for the Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee, and its members have been recently chosen by FMCSA from a field of experts in their respective fields, including motor carriers, drivers, DMV training organizations, state enforcement agencies, labor unions, and safety advocacy groups.


Don Lefeve, president of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association, says now that the basics are out of the way, the committee must “roll up their sleeves and get down to work.”

“I believe the participants understand the tough task ahead and realize that we need to produce a rule,” Lefeve said. “While there are many challenges which lie ahead, the first session ended on a positive note. I remain optimistic the committee will be able to produce a rule by the end of May... Continue reading.