Federal training now required for CDL drivers, says WYDOT
Cheyenne – In November 2021, the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) announced those wishing to obtain a commercial driver license (CDL) will be required to complete Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) starting Feb. 7 with a registered training provider.
ELDT regulations set the minimum federal training requirements for entry-level drivers. They must complete this training prior to taking the CDL skills test or the knowledge test for a hazardous materials endorsement.
The requirements are implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). There are no requirements for minimum length the training can take, but it is expected to take about six weeks to complete.
“The following individuals are required to complete ELDT: an individual who is obtaining a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time; an individual who is upgrading an existing Class B to a Class A CDL; and an individual who is obtaining a hazardous materials, passenger or school bus endorsement for the first time,” shared Wyoming Trucking Association, Inc Managing Director Sheila Foertsch. “In addition, any driver who held a CDL prior to Feb. 7 and applies for an upgrade to a higher class of CDL or an “S”, “P” or “H” endorsement for the first time after the February date, will only need to complete the required ELDT for the class of CDL in which they are applying for.”
A Class A CDL is required to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds; a Class B is required to operate any single vehicle not attached to a trailer – commercial trucks with attached cab or cargo area with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more; and Class C CDL is required for a single vehicle with GVWR less than 26,0001 pounds that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver), requires hazardous material placards or is carrying material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR part 73.
An “S” endorsement authorizes a driver to operate a bus or motor vehicle to transfer school students, a “P” endorsement authorizes a driver to operate a bus and motor vehicle used to carry 16 or more people, including the driver; and “H” endorsement authorizes a driver to operate a vehicle transporting hazardous materials.
Completing the training
“A driver wishing to complete the ELDT program can do so by going to any entity listed on the FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry,” said Foertsch. “The registry includes motor carriers, educational institutions, rural electric cooperatives, state and local governments, school districts, joint labor programs, owner operators and individuals.”
FMCSA estimates approximately 85 percent of entry-level drivers already receive pre-CDL training, which meets or exceeds ELDT requirements.
“Motor carriers who have provided training to entry-level drivers in the past are able to continue training new drivers as long as they meet the requirements of a training provider and register online with the FMCSA’s training registry,” she says. “The training requirements include theory instruction and trainees must receive an overall score of at least 80 percent during their assessment.”
Students must demonstrate proficiency through successful completion of all the requirements, including theory, range and road driving.
“Each individual driver needs to be trained to proficiency by a trainer provider registered with FMSCA,” added WYDOT Program Manager Misty Dobson. “The training provider will then transmit the information once competed to WYDOT, to make sure drivers have met the necessary requirements prior to administering the necessary skills or knowledge tests.”
The goal of the rule is to increase driver safety during uniform training.
“Prior to Feb. 7, there was no standard training requirements for drivers prior to them taking their skills test,” explained Dobson. “This requirement requires each new driver who wishes to obtain a CDL for the very first time, upgrade their existing CDL or obtain a passenger, school bus or hazardous material endorsement to have met the required training prior to the skills test.”
“This training ensures every single driver has the same level and standard of training, and at the end of the day, it’s all about highway safety,” said Dobson. “This is what is important to us as an agency and to the carriers and drivers out there.”
“This new requirement has been in the works for several years, so it’s not a surprise to anyone in the industry,” added Foertsch.
“For agriculture producers in the state of Wyoming, there is a federal exemption allowing for farmers, ranchers and their employees to be exempted from the CDL requirements, as long as it’s within 150 mile radius of their home or ranch,” added Dobson. “On the Wyoming side, state statute exempts them from holding a CDL as long as they meet the requirements anywhere within the state of Wyoming.”
If a producer were to travel over 150 miles from their home place outside of the state of Wyoming, a CDL would be required and those drivers may have to meet the new ELDT standards, she noted.
Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.