October 2, 2023

Understanding the New FMCSA Training Requirements

Author: Kimberly Rentner
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Because our blog is about giving back, we want to offer a source of information to help our readers understand new Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) requirements coming up for all districts. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established new minimum training standards in December of 2016, and these new requirements will be implemented on February 7, 2020.

Who do these
requirements apply to?

The ELDT requirements apply to anyone applying for a Class A
or Class B commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the first time, an upgrade of
their CDL, or hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S)
endorsement for the first time. If you obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP)
before February 7, 2020, you would not be required to comply with the new ELDT

What are the CDL
applicants required to do?

CDL applicants subject to the rule must complete an instruction
program prior to taking the CDL skills test. This training must be provided by
a person or organization listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR). To
be on this registry, the trainers must register with the FMCSA and self-certify
that they meet the requirements for providing CDL training. Having all this
information registered with the FMCSA is one of the bigger changes in the new

What type of training
will the CDL applicants receive?

The new training has a theory portion and a behind-the-wheel
(BTW) portion, and driver-trainees must demonstrate proficiency in both areas.

There is no minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must
spend on the theory portions of the curriculum, but they must receive an
overall score of at least 80 percent on a final assessment.

Again, there is no minimum number of hours that must be
spent on the BTW portion of the curriculum, but the driver-trainees must
proficiently demonstrate discrete maneuvers in both range and public road
driving to the satisfaction of the training instructor.

What happens when the
CDL applicants complete training?

When the student completes the course, the training provider
must electronically transmit their training certification to the FMCSA and the
State Driver Licensing Agency (SDLA). They will keep a database of the

How do I enter my new
driver training?

You will need to register with FMCSA here.

I want to learn more.

All information above is based  on the FMCSA website, which is a great resource for learning about transportation topics, including:

  • Passenger and bus safety
  • Crash reports and statistics
  • The Department of Transportation (DOT) library
  • Safety regulations and resources
  • National registry of Certified Medical Examiners
  • Report safety violations
  • Rule makings
  • Petitions

They also offer interpretations of laws with lots of FAQs.

With questions you may also contact FMCSA’s Office of Policy at 202-366-2551.

There is also an advisory committee if you would like to get involved or have questions: email eldtac@dot.gov.