ALBANY, N.Y. — A national student transportation association was notified on Friday of a federal agency’s technical issues that will likely lead to a delay in a looming federal driver training requirement deadline.
The National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) stated in an announcement to its members and on its Facebook page that it was informed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that the agency has not yet completed the Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) registry due to technical issues with its internal systems.
“FMCSA will be communicating to various commercial vehicle market segments and distributing a public notice that explains the situation in more detail,” the NAPT added in the announcement.
The NAPT also said in its announcement that “the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT’s) agency-wide effort to consolidate commodity and programmatic IT services has a pretty long queue of projects so even the ELDT’s Training Provider Registry (TPR), which is the first step of local reporting, has not yet been completed.”
Given the news, which underscores recent reports that FMCSA representatives had informed stakeholders in the commercial vehicle market that the agency has requested permission to delay implementation of the entire rule for at least two years, NAPT said in the announcement that it expects the rule to be delayed. The NAPT added that the federal agency is required to follow a procedure to make the announcement official, and “has been complicated by a variety of political factors, several of which are beyond FMCSA’s control.” Read the NAPT's complete announcement on its Facebook page here.
As School Bus Fleet previously reported, Larry Minor, the associate administrator for policy and designated federal officer for the FMCSA, told attendees at the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) conference in October that the ELDT certification training final rule deadline would be pushed back from Feb. 7, 2020 to Feb. 7, 2022, because of IT challenges that would interfere with commercial driver’s license (CDL) training providers registration.
He added that attendees could still move forward with putting together their training programs if they hadn’t already done so.
Charles Hood, the executive director for NASDPTS, told School Bus Fleet that the announcement "has not been made official yet via a federal register notice from FMCSA, but we are hoping such a notice will be published soon."
Hood added that NASDPTS submitted comments in August to the agency "favoring an integrated approach that would implement all aspects of the program on the same timeline instead of delaying only part of the requirements."
SBF also reported that in 2016, the FMCSA issued a final rule, “Minimal Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators,” (ELDT), that established national minimum training standards for entry-level commercial bus and truck operators. The final rule requires applicants seeking a CDL to demonstrate proficiency in knowledge and behind-the-wheel training on a driving range and on a public road, with training obtained from an instructional program that meets the federal agency’s standards.
The rule followed a notice of proposed rulemaking that FMCSA issued in March 2016 in response to a congressional mandate from the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.