What you need to know about the new CDL licensing requirements
New rules will come into effect for Entry Level Truck Driver Training (ELDT) in February 2020 that small businesses should be aware of. The changes will affect drivers seeking a commercial license (CDL) for the first time or during an upgrade.
New CDL license requirements
Small Business Trends reached out to Fred Word, executive consultant at Illinois Safety Consultants to find out what your business needs to know about the new requirements.
Why the changes?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented these changes which come into effect on February 7, 2020. The changes were finalized on March 5 to reduce the regulatory burden on applicants and training institutions. The FMCSA also says these new streamlined rules will reduce classroom instruction by an average of 27 hours per candidate.
These changes are also designed to help combat a chronic shortage of truck drivers in the United States.
What types of commercial vehicles will be affected?
“The new ELDT is a minimum FMCSA training requirement for brand new commercial vehicle operators who are applying for a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time or who are upgrading to a CDL.2,” Word wrote in a E-mail.
Each class of the CDL has certain weight restrictions and allowances that correspond to specific commercial vehicles. For example, a Class A CDL is typically the one assigned to semi-trailers, flatbeds, tank trucks, and livestock transport vehicles.
A Class B CDL is usually one that allows drivers to drive trucks such as city buses, tour buses, and courier vehicles.
A CDL2 allows a driver to drive a bus that has more than 24 passengers.
There is one big exception that you should be aware of. You do not need to reapply if you already have your CDL before the compliance date goes into effect.
What will change?
It all starts on February 7, 2020. This is the first day that you will not be able to apply for any type of commercial vehicle license until you have completed the revamped course. It will include knowledge and portions of driving training.
The emphasis is on the knowledge aspect. Candidates for the driver must obtain a minimum of 80% on this part. On the other hand, there is no minimum number of hours to train behind the wheel. However, if you are planning to get your CDL license, you will not be able to use a driving simulator to practice.
What is the new direction?
“The knowledge portion will include over 30 course topics,” says Word. “Learner drivers must demonstrate their understanding of the subject by obtaining a minimum overall score in the knowledge assessment. “
Your small business can use a training school to upgrade your new hires. They must be listed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration register. You’ll need to do some extra homework here to make sure.
Word explains the reasons for the change.
“Training providers must record and report the hours spent driving by students to this administration. “