Entry-Level Driver FAQs

Who is subject to the new entry-level driver training requirements?

Individuals subject to the requirements include interstate and intrastate drivers:

  • Applying for their initial commercial driver's license (CDL),
  • Upgrading their current CDL, or
  • Obtaining a hazardous materials, passenger, or school bus endorsement for the first time.

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 a Training Provider Registry (TPR). The TPR is administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

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 is no minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on the theory instruction, but the training 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.

Is there a certain amount of time mandated for behind-the-wheel training? Are there specific topics that must be addressed?

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/road test.

There is no minimum number of instruction hours for behind-the-wheel training, but the instructor must cover all of the 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.

How does a training provider get onto the TPR?

Training providers must offer and teach a training curriculum that meets all FMCSA standards for entry-level drivers and must also meet requirements related to:

  • Course administration;
  • Qualifications for instructional personnel;
  • Assessments;
  • Issuance of training certificates; and
  • Training vehicles.

Training providers that meet these requirements would be eligible for listing on the TPR and must continue to meet the eligibility requirements in order to stay listed on the TPR.

Training providers must also attest that they meet the specified requirements, and in the event of an FMCSA audit or investigation of the provider, must supply documentary evidence to verify their compliance.

The electronic TPR application is expected to be available in late 2019.

Can I access the TPR today?

Not yet. FMCSA has not yet posted the TPR on its website. It is expected to be available in late 2019.