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Entry-Level Drivers

As of February 7, 2022, compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA's) Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rule is required for any individual who wants to:

  • Obtain a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) for the first time;
  • Upgrade an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL; or
  • Obtain a passenger (P), school bus (S), or hazmat (H) endorsement for the first time.

Under the FMCSA requirements, an entry-level driver must successfully complete a prescribed program of theory and behind-the-wheel instruction before taking the CDL skills test. This training must be provided by a school or other entity listed on the FMCSA's Training Provider Registry (TPR). To be listed on the TPR, training providers need to meet specific requirements addressing:

  • Curriculum,
  • Facilities,
  • Vehicles and equipment, and
  • Instructors

The ELDT requirements do not apply to individuals with a valid CDL or an S, P, or H endorsement issued before February 7, 2022.

Entry-Level Driver Training Requirements

The ELDT rule requires a standard curriculum in five areas of instruction: Basic Operation, Safe Operating Procedures, Advanced Operating Practices, Vehicle Systems and Reporting Malfunctions, and Non-Driving Activities. There isn't a minimum number of training hours required, however, the instructor must cover all the topics listed within each area of instruction. An assessment is then used to determine the driver-trainee's proficiency. Driver-trainees must achieve an overall minimum score of 80% on the theory assessment.

The 30 topics that must be covered in the theory instruction standard curriculum are:

Basic Operation:

  • Orientation
  • Control Systems/Dashboard
  • Pre- and Post-Trip Inspections
  • Basic Control
  • Shifting/Operating Transmissions
  • Backing and Docking
  • Coupling and Uncoupling (Class A CDL only)

Safe Operating Procedures:

  • Visual Search
  • Communication
  • Distracted Driving
  • Speed Management
  • Space Management
  • Night Operation
  • Extreme Driving Conditions

Advanced Operating Practices:

  • Hazard Perception
  • Skid Control/Recovery, Jackknifing, and Other Emergencies
  • Railroad-Highway Grade Crossings

Vehicle Systems & Reporting Malfunctions:

  • Identification and Diagnosis of Malfunctions
  • Roadside Inspections
  • Maintenance

Non-Driving Activities:

  • Handling and Documenting Cargo
  • Environmental Compliance Issues
  • Hours of Service Requirements
  • Fatigue and Wellness Awareness
  • Post-Crash Procedures
  • External Communications
  • Whistleblower/Coercion
  • Trip Planning
  • Drugs/Alcohol
  • Medical Requirements

In addition to the required topics, J. J. Keller offers additional courses for entry-level drivers: Human Trafficking, CSA, Special Rigs, Basic Business Practices, and driving in Canada.

Both range and over-the-road instruction are required. The proficient completion of the behind-the-wheel training is based solely on the instructor’s professional assessment of each driver-trainee’s performance of the required elements of behind-the-wheel training on the range and on public roads. The training must be completed in a vehicle of the same group or type that the driver-trainee intends to use for the CDL skills test.

Range training topics include vehicle inspection and backing & parking. Over-the-road training topics include turns, lane changes, shifting, and visual search.

In order to provide entry-level driver training, a training provider must apply to be listed on the FMCSA's Training Provider Registry (TPR). To be eligible for listing on the TPR, the training provider must follow curriculum, instructor, and facility requirements as outlined by FMCSA. Once a driver's training is complete and he or she passes the required assessments, the training provider will need to electronically submit the trainee's certification to the TPR.

Theory and behind-the-wheel instructors must hold an appropriate class of Commercial Driver's License (including appropriate endorsement(s)) and have at least two years of experience as a driver and/or instructor. These individuals must also meet all applicable state qualification requirements for commercial motor vehicle instructors.

J. J. Keller Entry-Level Driver Training Options

J. J. Keller offers a range of products to meet your ELDT needs:

Certified Driver Trainer Services

Certified Driver Trainer Services

We'll train your trainers on how to deliver theory and behind-the-wheel instruction and certify your trainers are able to train entry-level drivers according to the FMSCA's requirements. We'll also help your company get registered on the TPR. Learn more about Certified Driver Trainer Services.

ELDT Program Audit & Assessment

ELDT Program Audit & Assessment

J. J. Keller consultants will review your current ELDT program and advise you on necessary updates to meet the ELDT rule and verify that your trainers meet the ELDT instructor requirements. We'll also assist with TPR registration. Learn more about an ELDT Program Audit & Assessment.

ELDT Curriculum

ELDT Curriculum

J. J. Keller offers ELDT training modules to meet the FMCSA's theory instruction requirements for a CDL or hazmat endorsement. Coordinating student and trainer manuals ensure your students understand the fundamentals of safe and professional driving.

Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) Rule Q&A Video

The Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rule was effective February 7, 2022. Learn how this major change impacts your fleet as J. J. Keller® Senior Transportation Safety Editor Jill Schultz provides answers to your key questions.

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Entry-Level Driver Training Manuals & Newsletters

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Entry-Level Driver Training Forms

Satisfy ELDT requirements with our easy-to-use forms.

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Log Books & Inspection Reports

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Pocketbook (The Green Book®)

Give your CDL drivers easy access to word-for-word Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

DOT Handbook: A Compliance Guide for Truck Drivers

Give new drivers easy-to-understand, concise information on DOT compliance and general orientation topics. Covers topics such as driver qualification, hours of service, trip planning, accident procedures, and cargo securement.

New Entrant Compliance Program

Let us help you establish and prepare your DOT safety program to pass an FMCSA audit.

Encompass® Fleet Management System

Stay on top of driver training and recordkeeping with the industry's most versatile online tool. Featuring regulatory dashboards, exceptions-based reports, and compliance alerts, it gives you a real-time view of the critical fleet information you need and automates compliance tasks.