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FMCSA Finalizes Entry-Level Driver Training Mandate

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Last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) finalized a long-anticipated negotiated rulemaking that establishes guidelines for minimum training requirements for individuals seeking to obtain a commercial drivers license (CDL) to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The rule establishes, for the first time, a universal and comprehensive training standard requiring both behind-the-wheel (BTW) instruction and specific topics to be covered during classroom instruction. The new requirements apply to "individuals applying for their initial CDL; an upgrade of their CDL or a hazardous materials, passenger or school bus endorsement for their license." The training also has to be conducted by a certified entity listed on the new "Training Provider Registry." The requirements for obtaining a Class B CDL to operate a ready mixed concrete truck are included in the new rule. While there is not a minimum number of BTW and classroom instruction hours, there is a required comprehensive curriculum that needs to be covered followed by the driver’s demonstration of proficiency of the curriculum and BTW training elements.

This new rule was required by the 2012 transportation bill known as "MAP-21," which stated that FMCSA must develop regulations "concerning ELDT for drivers operating commercial motor vehicles in interstate or intrastate commerce." In complying with the MAP-21 requirement, FMCSA implemented a process for a "negotiated rulemaking" whereby "25 key FMCSA stakeholders... [consisting of] motor carrier transportation, highway safety, driver training, state licensing, law enforcement, labor union, and insurance organizations... convened for six two-day negotiating sessions to reach a consensus on minimum training standards for entry-level drivers."

The final rule is effective February 7, 2017 and holds a compliance deadline three years later on February 7, 2020.
Click here to review the rule and accompanying compliance assistance materials. For more information, contact Kevin Walgenbach at

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