HomeDriversFMCSA Announces Partial Delay of Entry-Level Driver Training Rules

FMCSA Announces Partial Delay of Entry-Level Driver Training Rules

The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) seeks to extend the compliance date for new entry-level driver training rules by exactly two years. The proposal affects the electronic transfer of information for the online trainer registry. Everything else still goes into effect next February.

The FMCSA announced the partial delay on July 18 in the Federal Register (Vol. 84, No. 138). Comments on this notice must be received by FMCSA on or before this coming Aug. 19.

The FMCSA proposes to amend its Dec. 8, 2016, final rule, “Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators” (ELDT final rule), by extending the compliance date for two provisions from the rule. The date for training providers to upload entry-level driver training (ELDT) certification information into the Training Provider Registry (TPR) and for State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) to receive driver-specific ELDT information, would be extended from Feb. 7, 2020, to February 7, 2022.

FMCSA said this delay would provide additional time to complete the development of the electronic interface that will receive and store ELDT certification information from training providers and transmit that information to the SDLAs. The proposed extension would also provide SDLAs with sufficient time to modify their information technology (IT) systems and procedures, as necessary, to accommodate their receipt of driver- specific ELDT data from the TPR.

The rulemaking would require behind-the-wheel and classroom training for anyone who must hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate commercial motor vehicles, including school buses.

“The delay regarding the secure electronic transfer of information to the certified training provider registry and state driver licensing agencies does not negate the new ELDT training requirements,” commented the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute (PTSI). “Beginning Feb. 7, 2020, new drivers will still be required to comply with the final ELDT rule’s training requirements.”

Kathleen Furneaux, PTSI’s executive director, said that PTSI remains on schedule to deliver an online course in compliance with the February 2020 mandate. PTSI is providing an overview of the ELDT mandate to STN EXPO Reno attendees on July 30.

“Our wide range of expertise in school bus driver training and development places us in the unique position to offer high-quality FMCSA compliant driver training with solid results for the school transportation industry,” Furneaux added.

PTSI said it is developing an online theory curriculum for school bus transportation professionals to meet the requirements of the “theory” portion of this new ELDT requirement. PTSI will also offer ELDT Trainer’s Guides that design and guide the delivery of the Behind the Wheel (BTW) portions of the requirement for both BTW Range and BTW Road portions.

Jeff Cassell considering an important issue at the recent ACT conference in Long Beach, California.
Jeff Cassell considering an important issue earlier this year at the ACT conference in Long Beach, California. (Photo by David George.)

Industry Comments

Jeff Cassell, an industry consultant, told School Transportation News, “As I read this, the FMCSA is only delaying one part, the Trainer Provider Registry part. The ELDT requirements and SMS parts are still applicable.”

Cassell explained that “The goal of FMCSA was to work with every state to have an electronic system in place with every state, for each location that trains drivers (and there are tens of thousands, for trucking, busing and school busing). Each location then had to electronically advise FMCSA when each trainee has completed all of the training and achieved (the requirements). FMCSA then electronically notifies the state, so the license can be issued.”

So, “It is this system that is nowhere near created, hence the delay,” Cassell pointed out.

Despite this, “every location still needs to comply with the ELDT requirements and the SMS (Safety Management System). This can be done independently of the TPR requirements.’

Cassell also observed that “I think FMCSA has left the TPR requirements to each state—this seems very inefficient. They all need the same system. I would have thought FMCSA would have requested proposals for a single IT vendor to create this and all states have the same system. This makes far more sense.”

Cassell concluded that “It is likely they will now do this.”

Where to Submit Your Comments

You may submit comments (include: FMCSA-2007-27748) by using any of the following methods. But to avoid duplication, you are requested to use only one of the four methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, West Building, Ground Floor, Rm. W12-140, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001.
  • Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor, Rm. W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, D.C., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.
  • Fax: 202-493-2251.

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