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FMCSA Delays Beginner Driver Training Rule

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) works hard to use the power of technology to increase transportation industry safety nationwide, but sometimes their speed of implementation falls short of expectation. The implementation of this rule has been pushed back two years from February 7th, 2020 to 2022.

What is the Entry-Level Driver Training Rule?

The Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) Rule is a new regulation that will make the use of a database regarding driver training mandatory. It will be somewhat similar to the FMCSA Clearinghouse, but the main difference will be that this Training Provider Registry (TPR) will track training providers and have them self-certify with the FMCSA that their training program(s) fulfill FMCSA expectations. The agency says that the TPR will also, “provide the electronic interface that will receive and store entry-level driver training certification information from training providers and transmit that information to the State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs).”

The announcement happened less than a week when the TPR was to go live, and the FMCSA even has an FAQ page for training providers. It appears based on the evidence that this decision to delay TPR’s implementation was done only as a last resort because the technology is not yet running smoothly enough.

How Does The ELDT Delay Affect Truckers?

For the next two years, the delay means nothing changes. Arguably this is all for the best, at the Clearinghouse just recently became law, and it might not be a good idea to overbear the industry with too much regulation at once.

Come 2022, current truck drivers with CDLs may become grandfathered into the program, meaning they will not have to go back to meet with a trainer that will be registered on the TPR. It is training aimed towards entry-level drivers, after all.

At the same time, this new ELDT rule adds another small hurdle to drivers entering the transportation industry, and in a time where there may be a trucker shortage, adding any barriers to entry, no matter how small, may be detrimental to the industry as a whole.

Still, safety is a noble goal to pursue. The Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) expressed their disappointment with the delay of the TPR, indirectly saying that these two years without the TPR puts truckers and society as a whole at risk.

In his own words, Don Lefeve, president of the CVTA, says, “While news of the full delay is not unexpected, it is very disappointing to the entire commercial vehicle training community as well as safety advocates who have seen this as a critical step towards improving highway safety. Put simply, the ELDT rule is in the interest of everyone’s safety.”

Conclusion

Whether you see the ELDT as a valuable tool to increase entry-level driver skill or an unnecessary burden on training providers and another overreach of government bureaucracy, the fact that its implementation has been pushed back two years is here to stay.

This delay can throw a wrench into other regulatory plans within the trucking industry. When Congress debated the Drive Safe Act, proponents countered the claim that younger drivers would be more likely to get into accidents by saying that higher training standards were in the work. Without the FMCSA requiring trainers to register to meet these standards, the arguments for the Drive Safe Act lost some ground on this position.

In 2022, the world of commercial vehicles may be an entirely different place. There is simply no telling what trucking will look like until that time occurs. Hopefully, the TPR system errors are resolved soon and the Entry-Level Driver Training Rule will not be delayed again in 2022.

Article courtesy of TopMark Funding.

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