The FMCSA Delays Effective Date for ELDT Rule

The ELDT rule establishes minimum training requirements for entry-level operators of commercial motor vehicles.

After previously predicting a partial delay, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has postponed the effective date of the entry-level driver training rule. Fleet managers and CMV training providers now have another two years before official compliance with the Entry-Level Drivers Training rule. The current compliance date has been moved from Feb. 7, 2020 to Feb. 7 2022. During this time, the agency is taking the opportunity to open up the forum for public comment on the proposed rule. Comments must be made within 45 days of the publishing of the interim rule. The additional two years will also give the agency time to work on some unforeseen tasks involving the rule, which only became apparent after it was initially published.

What is the Entry-Level Driver’s Training Rule?

The basic language of the ELDT rule establishes new minimum training standards for new applicants for Class A or B commercial driver’s licenses. This also applies to those initially upgrading their CDL, hazardous materials, passenger or school bus endorsement on their CDL. The rule requires these applicants to successfully complete a comprehensive program that includes training in both theory and behind-the-wheel experience. The program must be administered by a training provider listed in the FMCSA’s approved registry. 

The ELDT rule has officially been in the making since 2007, but the beginning of U.S. rule-making on entry-level driver training can be traced back to the 1980’s. In 2012, Congress created the MAP-21 highway bill, which came as a result of recommendations from the Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee. Some stakeholders in the commercial trucking industry feel that the rule is missing some pertinent requirements. Perhaps the extra time given by the FMCSA is warranted to make more changes or additions to the rule. Specifically, the American Trucking Association (ATA) points out that the rule doesn’t require 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training for new drivers, which had been in the proposal for the rule in March 2016, but not in the final version.

Why the Delay?

The FMCSA is actually using the time to build out their registry of approved training providers. The Training Provider Registry will involve a self-certification system where approved CMV training providers will verify driver’s training requirements. The registry will be an interface connecting the approved training providers and state driver license agencies. The two-year time period is also meant to allow state agencies to upgrade and align their technology systems to the level necessary to support enforcement of the rule. Their systems need to have the capability to receive driver-specific ELDT data in a secure database accessible to enforcement officials.

“While news of the full delay is not unexpected, it is very disappointing to the entire commercial vehicle training community as well as safety advocates who have seen this as a critical step towards improving highway safety,” said Don Lefeve, president of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association. Highway safety has been one of the major reasons that the rule has received such a wide range of support. The rule is in response to research that revealed significant increases in fatal crashes involving commercial motor vehicles. 

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), from 2015-2017, “large trucks were involved in nearly 11,000 fatal crashes on U.S. roadways-killing 12,230 people. Each year, both fatal crashes and total fatalities increased – with an 11.4 percent increase in fatal truck crashes and a 10.5 percent increase in fatalities in 2017 over those in 2015.” With statistics like these, the delay of the rule is a cause for concern as it relates to highway safety. 

Though the delay has been announced, the element of safety is not something that the CMV industry is taking lightly. “While we are disappointed that the rule will allow an additional 2 years for substandard training institutions to continue operating, we are confident that the schools and carriers that have adopted the federal standard and in many cases, surpass it, will continue to effectively train drivers with a safety centric focus to operate on our nation’s highways,” says David Heller, Vice President of the Truckload Carriers Association

Provide Your Input

If you’re interested in submitting a comment on the ELDT rule, remember you must submit within 45 days of the interim rules publish date. Use Docket Number FMCSA-2007-27748 via the Federal eRulemaking Portal and follow the online instructions. You can also submit comments via regular post to: 

Docket Management Facility

U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE.

West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140

Washington, DC 20590-0001

When managing your fleet, you need to be sure that your drivers are well-trained and ready to handle the demands of your routes on the road. Establishing your on-boarding process and driver coaching program based on the rules set forth by the FMCSA and DOT is a great way to keep your fleet safe in the meantime. Using telematics to help you establish a safety-focused driver coaching program, is a great way to set the bar high for your fleet’s drivers. Talk to one of GPS Trackit’s expert fleet advisors today to learn more on how fleet management solutions can keep your vehicles safely on the road.