One year from today the Entry-Level Driver Training regulation (ELDT) goes into effect nationwide. Anyone seeking a Class A or Class B commercial driver’s license (CDL) on or after February 7, 2020 will be required to receive formal commercial driver’s education from an approved training provider. An applicant will not be allowed to sit for their CDL skills test unless he or she receives training from an approved training provider. All training providers (schools, employers, etc.) must have their program approved by their state and the FMCSA, teach the necessary 30+ subject areas, and certify their students based on their actual performance. Seems simple, right? Guess again.
There are many important details and nuances within the ELDT regulation that some training providers could fail to comply with or will confuse them. Failing to comply or missing details will jeopardize the training provider’s ability to instruct CDL students altogether.
My advice is to start understanding the regulation now! I say this as one who is intimately familiar with the regulation. CVTA was a participant on the FMCSA’s Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC), which drafted the proposed regulation. We have also recently developed an ELDT compliance package for our members. All companies need to understand that complying with the regulation will take time, especially if they need to make any changes to their current program.
While the regulation seems to be fairly straight-forward, complying, and maintaining compliance with the regulation will require program overhaul for some. For others, it will entail a level of detail and dissemination to which they are unaccustomed. In either case, failure to be compliant with the regulation could result in being shut down by the FMCSA. An outcome CVTA wants to help training providers avoid.
Whether the nuance is in the application of the curriculum through instruction, tracking behind- the-wheel instruction, adhering to administrative requirements, documenting the student’s skills proficiency, or understanding state and local rules and their integration with the regulation, my advice is to start your compliance process immediately.
If you are training drivers, you need to ensure that you begin your ELDT implementation now. For those who are hiring drivers, you should inquire whether your training partners are or will be compliant. The good news is that we are still one year away from ELDT’s full implementation. The bad news for some training providers is that they believe they know how to comply with the regulation, only to realize that they do not. Compliance is critical in determining whether your organization will be approved as a training provider by the FMCSA or you will be out of business. Don’t let confusion stand in the way of the success of your business and your drivers. Let CVTA be your resource to make your integration process as seamless (and compliant) as it can be.