Entry-Level Driver Training Explained


What is ELDT?

Entry-Level Driver Training, or ELDT, are the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) policies to regulate the baseline for entry-level driver training requirements. These rules apply to individuals who are:

  • Obtaining a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time.
  • Upgrading an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL; or
  • Getting a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time.

Professional Drivers who already possess a CDL or an S, P, or H endorsement before the ELDT mandate start date are not required to complete the respected CDL training or endorsement. Also, those who obtain a CDL before their Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) expires are not subject to the new ELDT requirements.

When Will ELDT Go Into Effect?

Since 1985, the FMCSA has worked with professional drivers, industry leaders, and government bodies to enforce these enacted rules. FMCSA planned to implement the final modified regulations on February 7, 2020. However, “due to delays in implementation of the Training Provider Registry that were not foreseen when the proposed rule was published,” the FMCSA delayed the final implementation until February 7, 2022.

Why Is The Entry-Level Driver Training Mandate Important?

According to the US Census Bureau, more than 3.5 million people are currently working as truck drivers. Before the ELDT ruling, every driving school and state had the freedom to set its own training standards.

FMCSA worked with many individuals involved in the industry to develop these training standards. This new mandate will ensure all new professional drivers receive the same regulated training. ELDT will make the roads safer for everyone.

How Will ELDT Affect Driver Training Students?

According to the ELDT mandate, a driver trainee’s education must now be broken down into two sectors: theory/classroom training and behind-the-wheel training.

For the theory portion, students must be educated in at least 30 areas as specified by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Upon completion of this, driver trainees will take the written or electronic part of the CDL test, where they must score at least an 80 or higher. If a driver training student does not receive training from an authorized training provider, they will not be allowed to sit for the CDL Skills Exam. After passing, a trainee will proceed to the behind-the-wheel training segment. This portion must also be completed in an actual vehicle driven on the driving range or a public road, not a simulator. For example, if one is seeking a Class A CDL, their behind-the-wheel instruction must be in a Class A commercial vehicle.

How Will Entry-Level Driver Training Affect Driver Training Schools?

As a result of the ELDT ruling, driver training schools, like APEX CDL Institute, must ensure their training is approved through the Training Provider Registry (TPR). These steps include:

  • Submitting an electronic application to the TPR
  • Self-certification that they meet all ELDT requirements
  • Affirming, under penalty of perjury, that they will only teach the prescribed ELDT curriculum
  • Documentation proving ELDT compliance in the event of an audit

Once these criteria are met, the TPR will provide schools with a unique ID number. This number will appear on every driver trainer’s record in the Commercial Driver’s License Information System. This ID number will also allow prospective students to see if their desired school is FMCSA-certified.

APEX’s Class A CDL Training Program complies with all FMCSA standards.

ELDT Resources

Resources are available to learn more information about the ELDT mandate.

Apex is a proud member of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association, which is the largest association of commercial truck driving schools. Working with Carriers and Associate members on critical industry issues, CVTA promotes highway safety through quality training.

Lastly, the Training Provider Registry is the FMCSA’s web portal to help prospective students find and locate training providers who have registered and been approved to teach the ELDT-approved curriculum. It will also keep records of CDL applicants that have completed the required entry-level driver training course. It will be the best place to find answers to all your questions concerning ELDT.

If you’re ready to begin training with Apex CDL Institute, request information today or call (913) 354-2997.

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