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FMCSA Delays Minimum Training Requirements Final Rule for 2 Years

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is announcing a long-anticipated, two-year delay in the deadline to comply with its entry-level driver training rule, so it can complete the development of a computerized registry of training providers.

During the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation (NASDPTS) annual meeting in Washington, D.C., last fall, an FMCSA official discussed the intent to delay the ELDT rule because an electronic database component for storing commercial driver information was not ready.

However, requirements for behind-the-wheel and classroom training for school bus driver applicants were set to go into effect on Feb. 7.

The Interim Final Rule that was released on Wednesday specifies that the FMCSA is extending the compliance date for all aspects of “Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators”  to Feb. 7, 2022.

It is expected to be published in the Federal Register this week.

The delay will provide FMCSA with additional time that the agency said it needs to complete developing its Training Provider Registry (TPR). The registry will allow training providers to self-certify that they meet the training requirements. It will also electronically receive and store ELDT certification information from training providers and transmit that data to each state driver licensing agency (SDLA).

According to FMCSA, the two-year delay will also give the state agencies sufficient time to modify IT “systems and procedures, as necessary, to accommodate their receipt of driver-specific ELDT data from the TPR.”

Last July, FMCSA published a partial delay of the rule because of issues with developing the database. A month later, NASDPTS recommended to FMCSA that it delay the entire rule rather than enforce the requirements piece-meal.

“NASDPTS was one of the parties that participated in 2015 in the Negotiated Rulemaking process and the recommendations on which the FMCSA’s ELDT rulemaking is based,”  wrote association Executive Director Charlie Hood on Wednesday. “We expect to again submit comments supporting the two-year delay in order to provide for integrated and orderly implementation of these important federal regulations.”

Related: FMCSA Proposes Latest Rule to Alleviate Burdens to Obtaining CDL
Related: FMCSA Extends State Query Provision of CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
Related: FMCSA Says CDL Final Rule to Cut Cost of Entry-Level Training

FMCSA initiated the new rule in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s December 2005 decision that remanded ”Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators,” which was published on May 21, 2004, to the agency for further consideration.

According to FMCSA, the rulemaking must consider the “effectiveness of Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) driver training in reducing crashes, the appropriate types and levels of training that should be mandated and related costs. Additionally, provisions in this rulemaking would also be responsive to requirements of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act. MAP-21 requires a final rule by Oct. 1, 2013. This rulemaking was withdrawn to allow time to further study this issue.”

Public comments about the delayed rule (use Docket No. FMCSA-2007-27748) may be made via www.regulations.gov.

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