Entry level requirements for CDLs

The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) has proposed a rule  that all drivers seeking a CDL take a comprehensive trainingcourse designed to improve safety and awareness. The training should consist of both “theory” (e.g. traditional classroom instruction) and Behind the Wheel (BTW) training. Following theory instruction, students would begin BTW training. To successfully complete this portion, drivers must spend at least 30 hours BTW. This time would be split between time spent on the “range” and on the road.

“Range” driving would typically be conducted on a closed “driving range” and would focus on the development of basic skills and maneuvers like backing, parking, coupling and uncoupling, and vehicle inspections. A driver would be required to receive a minimum of 10 hours of instruction on the range. Road driving would be conducted in regular traffic and focus on safe driving behavior, interaction with traffic and accident avoidance. FMCSA proposes students receive a minimum of 10 hours of training on the road.

FMCSA has also proposed to establish a National Training Provider Registry. Truck driving schools and other training providers would self-certify that their programs comply with the minimum standards and provide documentation of such. They would also be required to consent to periodic FMCSA audits. Persons interested in obtaining a CDL would be required to choose a certified training provider from the registry. Once training is complete, a certificate would be electronically transmitted to the driver’s State Driver’s Licensing Agency (SDLA). A driver would be unable to schedule a CDL road test unless the SDLA has received the completion certificate.

The FMCSA proposal was the result of a law suit that challenged the current rules FMCSA has in place for CDL entry level training. The court found the existing rules inadequate and directed FMCSA to develop new rules. The American Trucking Association (ATA) was part of the negotiated rulemaking group that worked with FMCSA to develop this regulation.

AGC will submit comments on the rule. Attached is the ATA summary of the rule, including FAQs that do a nice job of explaining the proposal.