Entry-Level Driver FAQs

Revised 2/3/2020

When will the new entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements go into effect?

Originally scheduled to go into effect February 7, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has delayed implementation until February 7, 2022.

As of February 7, 2022, compliance with all aspects of the ELDT rule is required

Who is subject to the ELDT requirements?

The requirements apply to anyone: 

  • Applying for his or her first commercial driver's license (CDL);
  • Upgrading his or her current CDL (from Class B to Class A); or
  • Obtaining a new passenger, school bus, or hazmat endorsement.

The rule does not apply to individuals who held a valid and current CDL and the appropriate endorsement(s) before February 7, 2022.

How does the new ELDT rule work with the current/old rule? What are the motor carrier’s responsibilities?

The old and new ELDT rules are two are different requirements and should be addressed separately.

First, the current/old ELDT rule applies to drivers with less than one year of experience operating a commercial motor vehicle requiring a CDL in interstate commerce. It is the motor carrier’s responsibility to ensure that compliance is happening, and that proper documentation is on file for each driver. As of February 7, 2022, this rule will “sunset.” Carriers will no longer need to comply. Anyone who was subject to this rule prior to February 7, 2022, should have a copy of the training certificate in his or her DQ file.

As for the “new” ELDT rule, the motor carrier has no training or documentation responsibilities. The training (and certification of successful completion of training) must happen prior to an individual taking his or her CDL skills test.

What type of training is required?

The required training includes both theory and behind-the-wheel instruction.

The instruction must be provided by an entity listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR).

What are the specifics when it comes to theory instruction? Is there a certain amount of time mandated? Are there specific topics that must be addressed?

There isn’t a minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on the theory instruction, but the instructor must cover all topics set forth in the curriculum.

The topics in the curriculum cover five areas of instruction: 

  • Basic operation,
  • Safe operating procedures,
  • Advanced operating procedures,
  • Vehicle systems and reporting malfunctions, and
  • Non-driving activities.

Driver-trainees must demonstrate their understanding of the material by achieving an overall minimum score of 80 percent on the theory assessment.

What are the requirements for behind-the-wheel training?

Behind-the-wheel training includes both range and public road instruction. This instruction must be conducted in the class of commercial motor vehicle that the trainee will be taking his or her CDL road test in when the time comes to complete the skills test.

Skills that must be covered during range instruction include vehicle inspection, various backing skills, and coupling and uncoupling.

Skills that must be covered during public road instruction include left and right turns, lane changes, curves at highway speeds, and entry and exit on interstate or controlled access highways.

Is there a certain amount of time mandated for behind-the-wheel training?

There isn’t a minimum number of hours that must be spent on behind-the-wheel training, but the instructor must cover all topics included in the curriculum.

The instructor must determine and document that each driver-trainee has demonstrated proficiency in all elements of the behind-the-wheel curriculum. The instructor must also document the total number of clock hours each driver-trainee spends to complete the behind-the-wheel curriculum.

Who can provide entry-level driver training?

Both the theory and behind-the-wheel training must be provided by an entity listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR). Most entities listed in the TPR will be truck driver training schools and motor carriers that have schools to train their own drivers.

How do I access the TPR?

The TPR will be available via FMCSA’s website. It is not yet up and running, but once available, a training entity will be able to complete an electronic application, and if approved by FMCSA, be listed on the TPR as an approved training provider.  All applications must be filed electronically via FMCSA’s website. Paper applications will not be accepted.