On this episode of Solving The Driver Problem, Scott Rea gets together with AvatarFleet CEO and Founder Mark G. Gardner. The two discuss ELDT, what it is, and how it affects the transportation industry.
If you’re looking for straight answers during this uncertainty, check out the podcast episode.
ELDT is short for Entry-Level Driver Training. It’s due to arrive on February 7th, 2022 after being delayed since its original launch set for February 2020.
This hefty piece of legislation was created by the FMCSA with the goal of reducing accidents, improving road safety, and putting better trained CDL drivers on the road.
ELDT will primarily impact people looking to obtain a CDL, CDL training schools, and companies who hire non-CDL drivers and train them.
“It’s going to make a seismic shift in the way many companies and certainly all truck driver training schools operate today.” - Mark. G. Gardner
In short, ELDT will put forth stricter standards for how people obtain a CDL and - perhaps most importantly - stricter standards for who may train people to receive a CDL. If that sounds like you, it’s important you take action today to prepare for ELDT.
We’ll tackle this question from a few different perspectives:
First and foremost, there is no more CDL permit. Someone looking to obtain a new CDL still must pass a test, but that test culminates in them receiving their CDL. Moreover, the test now involves behind-the-wheel training as well.
First, the driver goes to an ELDT-certified school/company to be trained, takes their classroom and behind-the-wheel training, and passes their written and driving test. Then, the driver goes to the licensing bureau, takes the CDL written exam as it stands today, is entered into the ELDT database, and is given the seal of approval to hit the road.
As noted above, drivers can only receive their CDL permit by passing the test from an ELDT-certified testing center. This directly impacts CDL schools.
In order to train and certify CDL drivers, you must meet ELDT standards. You must go to the FMCSA and apply to become certified as a testing center. Both your classroom and BTW training materials/standards must be approved.
When drivers come to you for training, you administer the approved training, enter them into the ELDT database, and send them to the licensing bureau for approval.
Perhaps most importantly, standards for instructors have changed as well. Instructors must now have a CDL and driving experience for at least two years, and they can only train drivers up to their own licensing and endorsements. These changes also extend to instructors who lead classroom training.
As a side note, the database is what held up the process originally. The database must allow federal and state to “talk” to each other and share information. It did not work as planned but, allegedly, it is ready to go.
For carriers that currently hire people without a CDL and train them to obtain one, things are changing.
Carriers who follow this business model are held to the same standards as CDL training schools. You must be approved and have instructors who meet the ELDT requirements.
Again, you must act today if you aren’t prepared for these changes.
As Gardner said, these are seismic changes for many carriers. Whether trucking, bussing or a city municipality, many organizations count on the ability to hire and train people to receive a CDL. That all is changing.
However, even if this doesn’t apply to you today, it will in the future. It’s only a matter of time before the hiring market forces you to train newbies and help them obtain their CDL. As Rea mentions, “If you’re not doing it now, you’re going to be doing it in the next five years. Not because you want to, but because you have to.”
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