The Final Rule
Since 1991, Congress and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have sought to put forth a regulation that requires anyone seeking a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to obtain formal training before taking the CDL skills test. After years of back and forth between the agency and the courts, Congress mandated the DOT to produce a regulation in 2012. In response, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) held a negotiated rulemaking in 2015. CVTA and 25 other industry leaders were chosen as participants in this negotiated rulemaking called the Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC). The negotiated rule produced by the ELDTAC served as the blueprint for the Final Rule, which was issued on December 8, 2016.
When fully implemented in February 2022, all states, at a minimum, must require:
- All students to undergo a three-part curriculum comprised of a theory, behind-the-wheel range, and behind-the-wheel road portion. These collectively embody approximately 30 subjects and require students to demonstrate proficiency in all subjects and skills. Furthermore, all students must score at least 80% on a school-administered assessment before they can be certified to take the CDL exam;
- All training providers to certify its students are “proficient” in the skills curriculum before taking the CDL exam;
- All over-the-road instructors to have two years teaching or industry experience.
- All training providers must apply and be approved by the FMCSA prior to training students;
- The training provider must be listed on the FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR) (students who are not certified by a school on the TPR will not be able to test for a CDL);
- All training providers to indicate how many behind-the-wheel (BTW) curriculum hours the student completed on the student’s certificate;
- State driver’s license authorities (SDLAs) to modify their data systems to be able to record BTW curriculum hours completed by each CDL applicant.
Striving to make training better, and roads safer.
CVTA strongly supports the final rule because it requires training, sets forth a comprehensive classroom and behind the wheel curriculum, and requires individuals to demonstrate proficiency before sitting for the CDL exam. We believe this rule will enhance safety.
While FMCSA did not incorporate all of ELDTAC’s recommendations into its Final Rule, specifically an agreed upon minimum of 30-hours of required BTW training, CVTA believes this final rule will greatly enhance highway safety because the curriculum and demonstration of student skills performance far exceeds what most states currently require.
For far too long, substandard training providers (“CDL-Mills”) have been able to exist with little or no oversight. We believe this final rule is a good first step and will improve safety by required training.