New Rules for Entry-Level Driver Training Could Reduce Truck Crashes

Published on October 25, 2019, by Matthew Sharp

Trucking Accident

New Rules for Entry-Level Driver Training Could Reduce Truck Crashes

Entry-level truck drivers with commercial licensing requirements will face significant changes to training rules and regulations in 2020.

New Commercial Driver Rules

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), new rules will soon apply to entry-level commercial truck drivers. On February 7, 2020, new national training standards will apply to all entry-level driver applicants seeking a commercial driver’s license (CDL). New rules are being established to enhance the safety of commercial motor vehicle operations on U.S. roads and highways.

FMCSA states that providers of entry-level driver training will need to comply with new requirements. This includes trucking industry training schools, trucking companies, and private training facilities. Mandatory training applies to all first-time CDL applicants (Class A and Class B), as well as existing CDL holders seeking a license change or upgrade, operation of a school bus, or endorsement to transport hazardous materials.

New rules that apply to all providers of entry-level commercial driver training include the following requirements:

  • Registration with the FMCSA Training Provider Registry
  • Certification that the program meets requirements for classroom and behind-the-wheel training
  • Certification that students completed all behind-the-wheel training
  • Certification that students completed a written assessment on all subjects with a minimum passing score of 80 percent
  • Certification that students demonstrate proficiency in operating a commercial vehicle before taking the CDL exam

Training curriculum will cover 30 specific topics under five general areas of instruction including basic vehicle operation, advanced vehicle operation, safe operating procedures, vehicle systems and malfunctions, and non-driving activities. Behind-the-wheel training will cover several topics aimed at reducing trucking accidents seen by truck crash lawyers, such as vehicle controls, safe backing, proper parking, space management, and driving speeds.  

New rules will take effect on February 7, 2020, but the compliance date for two key rules will be extended until February 7, 2022. Training providers will be given an additional two years to upload driver training certification and proof of completion information into the Training Provider Registry. Additional time also applies to compliance with ELDT requirements before taking a skills test for a Class A or Class B CDL, a knowledge test for a hazmat endorsement, or a public or school bus driver endorsement. FMCSA is extending the time for IT systems procedures and updates needed for the electronic interface between training providers and state licensing agencies. Training facilities and training equipment must comply with all applicable federal, state, and/or local statutes and regulations.