The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) voiced its support for and provided feedback on a proposal to extend the compliance date of two provisions in the entry-level driver training rule.
As SBF previously reported, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) announced a proposal in July that would push back the date for training providers to upload entry-level driver training (ELDT) certification information into the Training Provider Registry (TPR) and for state driver licensing agencies to receive driver-specific ELDT information from Feb. 7, 2020, to Feb. 7, 2022, according to the FMCSA’s Federal Register.
The extension would provide FMCSA with more time to complete development of the electronic interface that will receive and store ELDT certification information from training providers and transmit that information to the state licensing agencies. The proposed extension would also provide the agencies with enough time to modify their information technology systems and procedures as needed to receive driver-specific ELDT data from the TPR.
On Monday, NASDPTS submitted comments to the FMCSA in response, encouraging the federal agency to also include “the other, substantive provisions in the rule” in the delay.
The delay should also expand its proposed changes to the final rule to also delay the compliance date by which training providers must register for the TPR and covered driver applicants must begin receiving the specified training. One reason, NASDPTS stated in its comment to the agency, is an “unparalleled” safety record of student transportation, with passengers being “70 times more likely to arrive at school alive when they are transported in school buses, compared to the other ways students get to school.”
The association added that a “bifurcated” schedule is not consistent with the fully integrated approach that was recommended by NASDPTS, and a “partial” delay can potentially cause confusion about the required actions to be taken, record keeping, enforcement, and consequences for not complying.
“Minimum requirements for entry level training of school bus drivers are already common practice,” NASDPTS said in its comments, submitted by Michael LaRocco, the president of the association. “Retaining the existing requirements within the final rule, while delaying the compliance date to ensure orderly implementation, will augment our longstanding record of providing the safest transportation possible for our nation’s children.”