The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s final rule establishing national minimum training standards for entry-level commercial truck and bus operators seeking to obtain a commercial driver’s license or certain endorsements will take effect Feb. 6, with a compliance date of February 2020, the agency announced. The standards established in the rule address the knowledge and skills necessary for the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles and also establish minimum qualifications for entities and individuals that provide entry-level driver training.
Many consensus recommendations of a negotiated rulemaking committee comprised of 25 stakeholders and FMCSA representatives are included in the rule. “Ensuring that drivers are properly trained is a critical element in improving road safety for everyone,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “The entry-level training standards for large truck and bus operators put forth today exemplify a commitment to safety from a broad coalition of commercial motor vehicle stakeholders.”
The rule was required by Congress in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.
“This new rule represents the culmination of a sustained and coordinated effort to identify appropriate pre-licensing CDL standards that will enhance safety on our nation’s roads,” said FMCSA Administrator T.F. Scott Darling, III. “Without the collective efforts of our stakeholders working closely with us, we could not have completed this important lifesaving rule. We especially appreciate the Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee for its tireless efforts and expertise to enhance roadway safety through the negotiated rulemaking process.”
When the rule is fully in effect, applicants seeking a CDL will be required to demonstrate proficiency in knowledge training and behind-the-wheel training on a driving range and on a public road, with training obtained from an instructional program that meets FMCSA standards. There is no required minimum number of hours for the knowledge or behind-the-wheel portions of any of the individual training curricula, but training providers must determine that each CDL applicant demonstrates proficiency in all required elements of the training in order to successfully complete the program.
FMCSA says mandatory training in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories would apply to first-time CDL applicants, including Class A and Class B CDLs, as well as current CDL holders seeking a license upgrade or an additional endorsement necessary to transport hazardous materials or to operate a motorcoach or school bus.