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EDLT: New CDL Laws 2022

As of February 2022, a handful of new CDL laws went into effect. The changes that have since been made to the CDL laws are impacting entry-level CDL drivers, those with passenger or bus endorsements, drivers upgrading their classifications, and drivers adding hazardous materials. 

Below, we’ll outline the new requirements for each of these driver certifications and what that means for drivers moving forward. Let’s start by looking at the new requirements for getting a CDL in 2022. 

What Are the New Requirements for Getting a CDL? 

For those seeking entry level driver training certificates (ELDT) or certain CDL upgrades, it’s important to understand the new requirements that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted as of 2022. 

These regulations are not retroactive. This means that if you were issued a CDL or other endorsement, including a passenger (P), school bus (S), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement, prior to February 7, 2022, then you will not have to adhere to the new training and endorsement requirements. 

Training Requirements

In order to obtain your CDL license, you will need to go to the new FMCSA Training Provider Registry. There, you can determine if the ELDT requirements apply to you. 

If you are, you’ll need to start the training from a FMCSA Training Provider before you can take your state-administered skills test or tests. Then, you’ll be included in the Federal Training Provider Registry as having completed an approved ELDT course. 

If you’re looking to expand your skills and upgrade your licensure, you’ll also need to successfully complete theory-only training before you sit for the knowledge test. However, the new ELDT regulations do not just impact drivers. There are also requirements for schools and instructors. 

CDL School Requirements

You can’t take your ELDT training just anywhere. Instead, there are now minimum standards that are set on the federal level. If a CDL school meets those requirements, then they will be listed in the Training Provider Registry. 

Schools have a self-certification process they must adhere to in order to be listed as well. They must attest, under penalties of perjury, that they are in compliance with the defined requirements. You can find all of the requirements that they must follow under 49 CFR part 380, subpart G. 

This includes driver testing methods, a requirement to accept all applicants for behind-the-wheel (BTW) training, and requirements for instructors and facilities, both online and in the classroom. 

Department of Transportation (DOT) management

The FMCSA’s Training Provider is now required to report training has been completed to DOT before drivers can proceed to the next step of training. The State Drivers License Agency will need to verify that the ELDT training is complete through the DOT before they allow the driver to begin taking the CDL knowledge test. 

CDL Driving Instructor Requirements:

The CDL driving instructors for ELDT courses now are required to have the following training, depending upon what they are teaching.

If an instructor is teaching theory, they must:

  • Hold a CDL to operate a commercial motor vehicle of the same class or higher than the training that is being provided
  • Meet all State qualifications for commercial motor vehicle instructors
  • Must meet one of the following:
    • Have a minimum of two years experience operating a commercial motor vehicle that requires a CDL of the same or higher class
    • Have previously held a CDL of the same or higher class
    • A minimum of two years experience as a behind the wheel, commercial motor vehicle instructor

If an instructor is teaching Behind-the-Wheel courses, they must:

  • Hold a CDL to operate a commercial motor vehicle of the same class or higher than the training that is being provided
  • Meet all state qualifications for commercial motor vehicle instructors
  • Must meet one of the following:
    • Have a minimum of two years experience operating a commercial motor vehicle that requires a CDL of the same or higher class
    • Have a minimum of two years experience as a behind the wheel, commercial motor vehicle instructor

Curriculum Requirements

How to get a CDL has changed. Gone are the days where a prospective driver could obtain a learner’s permit, take the CDL training courses, and then drive with a CDL holder before taking the road test. 

Now, the curriculum requires that aspiring CDL drivers take the entry-level driver training (ELDT) course before they begin their CDL training or get their commercial learner’s permit. This course covers 31 topics and has 19 mandated behind-the-wheel (BTW) skills that drivers must understand. To pass each, drivers must pass with a score of 80 percent or higher. 

How Is ELDT Different from Prior Training?

As we previously mentioned, ELDT training is a new requirement for aspiring drivers. Previously, drivers could find the CDL school that fit their needs and immediately begin training. 

Now, anyone looking to become a CDL driver must meet new training requirements in an ELDT training course. This is the FMCSA’s way of making the roads safer for all. 

Who Do These Training Requirements Apply to?

The new training requirements apply to the following drivers:

  • Entry level Class A or Class B commercial drivers looking to obtain licensure for the first time
  • Drivers upgrading an existing Class B CDL to a Class A
  • Drivers looking to obtain passenger (P), school bus (S), or hazardous materials (H) endorsements for the first time

These regulations are not retroactive. This means that individuals who were granted a CDL, S, P, or H endorsement before February 7, 2022 are not required to complete the ELDT training. 

How Will These Changes Affect Entry-Level Drivers?

While there’s a continued need for qualified CDL drivers, Entry-Level drivers now have new requirements that prior trainees did not have to meet. These new drivers are faced with the following changes. 

Choice of Training Providers

Now that FMCSA is requiring training providers to be part of their Training Provider Registry, the choice of providers may be limited in certain areas. If students began training with a provider that is not listed, that training does not count so the student will not be eligible to take their CDL test until they retake the training with a registered provider. 

More Obstacles to Overcome

The previous route to licensure was a lot easier. Now that students are required to take 31 theory assessments and 19 behind the wheel training courses, there are a lot more obstacles to overcome. 

Increase in Costs

Depending upon the school and the ELDT training course/trainer, students may be required to pay an additional $2,500 to $8,500. The additional time involved can take up to 3 days to 20 days, which increases the time spent before they can obtain their CDL license and begin making money. 

What Does This Mean For Current CDL Holders?

Current CDL holders do not need to worry about the new ELDT regulations. However, if they are looking to upgrade or expand their endorsements, they will need to complete the ELDT theory training. 

New Regulations to Make the Roads Safer

The new regulations that FMCSA put forth is in an effort to make the roads safer. While it might seem like a headache to deal with for drivers who want to take a fast track, in the long run it will make them a driver with the top skills and knowledge to complete each job successfully. 

The new requirements are geared to ensure that everyone, no matter where you’re located in the country, meets the new base requirements to promote preparedness and safety. Then, you can move along to your State-approved CDL training course and get on the road! 

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