Starting Feb. 7, obtaining a CDL to operate a school bus will become more detailed.

Starting Feb. 7, obtaining a CDL to operate a school bus will become more detailed.

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In just a few weeks, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations are set to take effect. The regulations set minimum federal requirements for training, which entry-level drivers must complete before they are permitted to take certain Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) skills or knowledge tests on or after Feb. 7.

What Are the New Regulations?

All new school bus drivers must complete a theory and behind-the-wheel training program, achieve at least 80% on an exam on the classroom content, and demonstrate proficiency on ELDT’s behind-the-wheel skills before they take the CDL test. The training must be provided by a registered training provider.

Jeff Cassell, president of School Bus Safety Co., previously told School Bus Fleet, “These ELDT regulations set a single federal standard for commercial driver licensing. They are the biggest change in the industry in 40 years.”

Who Does This Apply To?

This law impacts drivers who are applying for their initial Class A or Class B CDL, upgrading their current CDL, or who are obtaining a hazardous materials endorsement for the first time.

Who Can I Get My Training From?

All entry-level driver training instruction must be provided by a school or entity listed on the Training Provider Registry (TPR). To be eligible for a listing, training providers must fill out a form. Currently, over 9,600 training locations are registered.

Joshua Jones with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s CDL division told SBF the department has made outreach efforts, including webinars and online advertisements, to inform trainers that they need to apply for the TPR.

Who Happens if I Complete Training with a Facility that Has Been Removed from the TPR?

Jones says any training conducted after the date of the training facility’s removal from the TPR will be considered invalid.

What Do I Do After I Have Completed My Training?

After you complete the training, you must electronically transmit your training certification through the TPR website. You must do that by midnight of the second business day after you complete your training. This will provide proof to your state’s driver licensing agency that you have completed ELDT, and are eligible for CDL or endorsement testing.

What if I Already Have My CDL?

The ELDT regulations are not retroactive. That means if you were issued a CDL or an S, P, or H endorsement prior to Feb. 7, you are not required to complete training for that CDL or endorsement. However, if you are  upgrading your current CDL or obtaining a hazardous materials endorsement for the first time, as mentioned above, you are impacted.

SBF previously reported that Ohio had asked to be exempted from the ELDT, because training providers already must register in their state system. Jones tells us the outcome of that request is not published yet. He also says no other states have requested an exemption.

About the author
Christy Grimes

Christy Grimes

Senior Editor

Christy Grimes is a Senior Editor at Bobit, working on Automotive Fleet and Government Fleet publications. She has also written for School Bus Fleet.

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