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Entry-Level Drivers

Beginning February 7, 2022, compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA's) Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rule will be 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 FMSCA 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:

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

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, backing and 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 35 ELDT training modules to meet the FMCSA's theory instruction requirements. Coordinating student and trainer manuals ensure your students understand the fundamentals of safe and professional driving.

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

The new Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rule is 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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Encompass® Fleet Management System

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