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Updated Entry-Level Driver Training Regulations

updated-entry-level-driver-training-regulations

The FMCSA will roll out new Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations that take effect on February 7, 2022. What does this mean for your company?

A Bird’s-Eye View

The new ELDT regulations will apply to anyone getting a CDL or CLP for the first time, upgrading to a Class A license, or getting a school bus, passenger or hazmat endorsement for the first time on or after that date. The regulations fall under the new Subpart F of the existing Rule 49B Part 380 of the FMCSA regulations. 

Even if you’re not a newbie, these changes are still relevant to driver trainers because they will be required to register in the new Training Provider Registry (TPR). We have a quick breakdown in plain terms of what these new regulations mean to you.

Refined Definitions

The ELDT has added differentiates the type of training to be administered and who is a Behind-the-Wheel (BTW) instructor (380.605):

  • BTW Instructor Qualifications: a BTW instructor must have a CDL equal or higher class with necessary endorsements for the vehicle they are giving training for. They must also meet any necessary State requirements (which of course vary) and must either have 2 years of driving experience at the level or higher of Commercial Motor Vehicle training or 2 years of experience as a qualified BTW instructor.
  • Range vs. Public Road Training: an important to note to distinguish for BTW public road or BTW range training, the trainee MUST be the one behind the wheel for the training to count as BTW. Observation time does not count toward any required minimum BTW hours.
  • Theory instruction and instructors: the list of what qualifies as theory instruction (i.e. classroom and non-live driver training) has been extended to include:
    •  Lectures
    • Demonstrations
    • Audio-visual presentations
    • Computer-based instruction
    • Driving simulation devices
    • Online training or similar means 

The instructor giving this training must have the appropriate CDL level and 2 years of CDL appropriate level training or 2 years of BTW qualified training, same as a live instructor. 

Exceptions here can be made for someone who has this road or instruction experience but no longer has (but once did) an active CDL of equal or higher class (i.e. an inactive or retired driver), or for training providers that are exclusively online or digital. Note that there remains no minimum hour requirements for either classroom or BTW training, but the full curricula set forth in the regulations must be fulfilled, however long it takes.

Training Providers Standards

Entry-level drivers will now have to attain their training from a registered Training Provider who is listed on the TPR. 

To be eligible for registration as a training provider, you must submit the following seven items:

1. In order to apply, the minimum curriculum requirements under 380 App A-E are quite specific and generally fall into five sections of training: Orientation, Basic Operation, Safe Operating Practices, Advanced Operations, and Non-Driving Activities. All training must be delivered/prepared by a theory instructor in some fashion. Separate providers can be used for the theory and BTW training, but one provider must do all BTW.

2. You must have approved facilities, vehicles, and instructors (380.709-13). For federal facility and instructor requirements, see 380.605 (range and public road, instructor definitions). Vehicles must pass safety inspection as put forth in 399 Appendix G (minimum requirements for federal).

3. ELD candidates must achieve an 80% score or better on written assessments (theory) and there must be documentation of driver proficiency in both theory and BTW training.

4. STATE certified to do in-person training (online training is exempt)

5. Pass an FMCSA audit of training provider operations if requested by FMCSA

6. Register on the TPR Website. For multiple campuses/training locations, you have to submit one registration form per location. Upon FMCSA approval, you will get a TPR number and be listed in the registry. To stay on the TPR, a training provider MUST update their registration form every 2 years and report any changes to key information, such as address, phone number, or training offered, within 30 days. They must also comply with any audit or investigative requests from FMCSA.

7. Produce electronic training certificates by midnight of the second business day following a driver’s completion of training into the TRP website. Must include name, license number, class and/or endorsement, type of training (theory and/or BTW), number of hours of BTW training, name of training provider and TP number, and date training was completed.

Record Retention

Documentation for training records will not be that different from most FMCSA required records. The following documentation must be kept for a minimum of 3 years:

  1. Self-certification documentation for BTW training, along with any necessary state or local documentation agreeing to abide by regulations pertaining to drug and alcohol testing, age. Medical certification, licensing, or any other necessary driver records
  2. Copy of CDL/CLP (always have most recent available)
  3. Instructor qualification documentation, including driving/training experience and applicable CDL w/endorsements; copies of these for both theory and BTW instructors if applicable
  4. TPR Registration Form
  5. Lessons plans for theory and BTW training curricula
  6. Records of entry-level driver training assessments

Again, note that if states want you to retain these for longer, you must abide by those regulations as well.

Looking For More Guidance?

You can review the entire set of updated regulations, including the ones set to go into effect on February 7, 2022 here on the FMCSA site. You will want to review all of this with your training and safety teams, especially the granular details of the curriculum section and what specific topics FMCSA will expect you or your training provider to cover from now on.

The AvatarFleet CDL Finishing School meets all curriculum and documentation requirements. Your certified and registered instructors can rely on the curriculum to develop professional drivers for your company.

For more information and a free consultation, click this link.

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