Entry-level driver training rule released

Compliance deadline set for February 2020

Posted December 7, 2016

As of February 2020, all entry-level drivers will be required to meet specific training requirements in order to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released its long-awaited entry-level driver training rule.

The final rule establishes minimum training standards for interstate and intrastate drivers applying for their initial CDL, upgrading their current CDL, or obtaining a hazardous materials, passenger, or school bus endorsement for the first time.

Individuals subject to the entry-level driver training requirements must successfully complete a prescribed program of instruction provided by an entity listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR).

The prescribed training includes both theory (knowledge) and behind-the-wheel (range and public road) instruction.

There is no minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on the theory (knowledge) instruction. The rule prescribes specific topics for each of the five theory curricula, requiring the training provider to cover all topics, and requiring that driver-trainees demonstrate their understanding of the material by achieving an overall minimum score of 80 percent on the theory assessment.

The rule does not require a minimum number of behind-the-wheel hours. The proficient completion of the behind-the-wheel portions of the various curricula is based solely on the training instructor’s assessment of each driver-trainee’s individual performance of the required elements of behind-the-wheel training on the range and public road.

This final rule is expected to be published in the December 8, 2016, Federal Register. The effective date is February 6, 2017.

This article was written by Jill Schultz of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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