Last year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) made plans to schedule new entry-level driver training rules to be set for February 7th of this year. Now, that date has passed, the FMCSA is pushing the new rule until February 7, 2022, a whole two years after the original date.
Behind the FMCSA Change
The reason behind the move is that the government needs more time to finish the registry of approved training providers. FMCSA stated that the move will help to give the agency additional time to complete development of the TRP, the Training Provider Registry, which will allow commercial driving training providers to self-certify in meeting training requirements.
The extension also provides state licensing agencies more time to update their information technology systems and procedures in order to accommodate their receipt of ELDT data from the registry.
Pushing Things Back
Instead of partially delaying the rule, the FMCSA decided it would go all-in on the delay due to delays in implementation of the TPR that were not originally seen when the original rule was stated. Included in the extension process, FMCSA is also accepting public comments on the rule in the meantime.
The ELDT rule applies to interstate and intrastate truck drivers who are seeking a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The ELDT requires that anyone seeking a CDL receive formal training, teach the proper curriculum, and register with the FMCSA, unlike a number of different state laws on commercial driver training.
The rule was mandated by Congress in 2012 as part of the MAP-21 highway bill. The FMCSA notes that the driving training rule was based on recommendations of its Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee, which held meetings discussing the rule back in 2015. The rule was originally adopted by trucking organizations and interests, such as the American Trucking Associations, but has turned into a controversial issue because it doesn’t include a certain number of hours required for behind-the-wheel training for new drivers.
This could give way to a potential rise in liabilities on the road due to lack of training and education. Trucking professionals and the companies they work for would be right to invest in commercial truck insurance to avoid major risks related to driver training or incidents caused by drivers not required to hit a certain amount of hours on the road. New drivers in general come with more liability as they start out their career of trucking professionally, so having commercial truck insurance regardless is a must.
The resulting rule through the FMCSA requires new applicants seeking a CDL to demonstrate a high level of proficiency in knowledge and training and the ability to drive well on a driving range and on a public road. Training providers must make a decision when it comes to determining that each CDL applicant is proficient enough in all required elements of the training to complete the program successfully.
The FMCSA noted that it expects that many different organizations currently providing entry-level driver training, such as school districts and motor carriers, will be eligible to provide training that falls in line with the new requirements.
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