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New federal rule for entry-level CDL training goes into effect in February

New federal requirements for entry-level driver training for the commercial driver license (CDL) go into effect on Feb. 7.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations for entry-level driver training (ELDT) for CDL licenses were mandated under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21 Century Act (MAP-21).

ELDT regulations establish the baseline for training required for entry-level drivers. They apply to anyone:

  • seeking a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time
  • upgrading an existing Class B CDL to Class A CDL
  • obtaining a first-time school bus (S), passenger (P) or hazardous materials (H) endorsement.


The regulations require entry-level drivers to complete their training from a provider listed on a Training Provider Registry that is to be available by Feb. 7, according to a registry information page.

The regulations are not retroactive so they do not apply to people who hold these licenses or endorsements prior to Feb. 7 or who renew them prior to expiration. People exempt from the skills test in 49 CFR Part 383 are also exempt from the requirements, according to the ELDT regulations.

The Training Provider Registry was established to support “FMCSA’s goal of ensuring that only qualified drivers are behind the wheel of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs),” according to information at the registry home page. That page provides a link for training providers to sign up to be listed on the registry as well as information about training and an option to sign up for updates relative to training and the registry.

When the FMCSA Training Provider Registry is in place, it will keep a record of CDL applicants that have met the ELDT regulations for training and certification and be accessible to states.

The changes are part of the FMCSA Final Rule of December 2016. The Final Rule document provides an overview of the process.


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