In the United States of America, for operating commercial vehicles the trainee students must possess a Commercial Driver License. The aspiring trainee students who want to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL) must undergo a Commercial Driver's License Training (CDL training) from a certified CDL training school. CDL training is an industrial informative course that includes specialized modules of classroom instructions for passing the written examinations of CDL learner's permit. The CDL learner permit allows the students to practice their driving skills on public roads accompanied by a CDL licensed instructor.
FMSCA new Entry-Level Driving training rules mandate as per FMCSR guidelines that entry-level drivers must undergo ELDT to assure enhanced standards of safety before operating a commercial vehicle on public roads. ELDT (Entry-level Driver training) is the mandatory federal standard of training curriculum which is rationalized and rendered in CDL training by every leading CDL training school.
FMCSA Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) mandates are set as the baseline for entry-level drivers. This implies to all the aspirants looking for entry-level training which is far different from the old curriculum.
We are ELDT ready, for joining the training program -
The new Entry-Level Driver Training guidelines apply to all those who are seeking for:
- Obtaining a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time.
- Upgrading from a Class B CDL to the Class A CDL.
- Obtaining a School Bus Endorsement (S),
- All those candidates who are looking for Passenger Endorsement (P), Hazardous material Endorsement (H) for the first time.
All the individuals who were issued a CDL or a School, Passenger, or Hazmat endorsement before February 7, 2022, are not required to complete training for the respective CDL or prior endorsement. The prescribed program of theory instructions for passenger, school bus, hazmat endorsement and behind-the-wheel instructions must be accredited by a school or other entity listed on the TPR (Training Provider Registry). It must be specifically completed for any individual before taking the test for Hazardous Material Endorsement knowledge test.
The FMCSA trainer provider registry preserves the record for CDL applicants who have completed the new training and certification process as outlined in the (ELDT) curriculum. The ELDT regulations and the training provider registry were mandated under the Moving Ahead for Progress 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The Entry Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC) , a negotiated rulemaking committee held a series of meetings in the year 2015 concerning ELDT regulations and guidelines, came up with the final Entry Level Driver Training Rule in concern with consensus recommendations.
Theory Instruction of Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT):
It is the module-based theoretical instructions delivered on the operations of Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV). The theory experts provide relevant demonstrations and lectures. Theory experts also teach through Digital-based instructions with the devices that display driving simulation. The most popular method is the use of audio-visual presentations of commercial vehicle driver training. It is mandatory to cover all the theory topics, however there is no minimum number of hours that are prescribed for the knowledge or theory instruction.
About the Model Curriculum of theory instruction:
The Federal Highway Administration developed a model training curriculum for tractor-trailers. It was formulated to impart organized curricula and static truck driver training for driving training schools. The model curricula are referenced by every truck training school as it incorporates the vast segment of recommendations that involve core curriculum guidelines and training materials. The model curriculum was formulated in 1985 and it includes five areas of instruction: Basic Operation, Safe operating practices, advanced operating practices, vehicle maintenance, and non-vehicle activities. The new Entry-level Driver training rules are formulated to bring the 1985 model curriculum into the 21st century by expanding the horizons of rules and regulations that are essentially relevant to the present-day environment of operations.
The Five Basic Areas of Instruction as per the modern-day Model Curricula:
According to the FMCSR( Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations) and HMR( Hazardous Material Regulation) the latest requisite training procedures for operating a CMV are:
- Stopping at weigh stations/scales
- Hazard awareness of vehicle size and limitations
- Countering and calculating Low clearances and bridge Formulas by restrictions
- Control systems/dashboard
- Pre-Trip and Post-Trip Inspections
- Maneuvering in restricted areas like entering, exiting, and controlled-access highways
- Shifting/Operating Transmissions
- Backing and Docking
- Coupling and Uncoupling
The combination of trucks and trailers must operate by the FMCSR section 392.16 guidelines which issue the proper use of safety belts along with the new guidelines which include:
- Visual Search
- Distracted Driving
- Visual Attention- keeping eyes on the road
- Manual Control- keeping hands on the steering wheel
- Cognitive Awareness- Keeping the mind on the task and safe operation of the CMV.
- Optimal Management of Speed and Space
- Operation of commercial vehicle in the night
- Careful CMV operation under Driving Conditions
The section enlisted as per the FMCSR (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations) states specifically that the driver must be cautious at all times to identify and handle potential hazards while operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV).
- Hazard Perception
- Skid Control/ Recovery/Jackknifing and other emergencies
- Railroad/Highway Grade Crossings
- Overview of federal and state crossing regulations
- Obstructed view conditions
- Clearance around the tracks
- Crossing Environments
- Rails signs and signals
The section includes and addresses the importance of understanding the combination vehicle and its system and subsystem to ensure the understanding of vehicle inspection, operation, and maintenance. These issues have an immediate impact on both operational efficiency and highway safety.
- Identification and Diagnosis of Malfunctions
- Roadside Inspections
The following section addresses activities that do not directly involve the operation of a CMV but dispose of other new relevant guidelines:
- Documentation and Handling of cargo
- Prevention of theft
- Environmental Compliance Issues
- Fatigue and Wellness Awareness
- Post Crash Procedures
- External Communications
- Trip Planning
- Medical Requirements
BEHIND THE WHEEL INSTRUCTIONS:
The main topics that are included in the behind the wheel curriculum are:
TThe training is conducted by the behind-the-wheel instructor on the open range to ensure that the trainee-driver is capable of operating the power unit after the driving lesson The necessary skills are verified after
- Vehicle Inspection Pre Trip/En Route/ Post Trip
- Straight Line Backing
- Alley Back Docking
- Off-Set Backing
- Parallel Parking Blind Side
- Parallel Parking Sight Side
- Coupling and Uncoupling
The training is conducted by behind-the-wheel instructors to assure that the driver trainee is capable of operating a power unit on a public road.
The necessary verified skills are:
- Vehicle Control: Left turns, Right turns, Lane changes, curves at the highway, Entry, and Exit on the interstate or controlled-access highway.
- Visual Search
- Speed and Space Management
- Safe Driver Behavior
- Hours-of-Service Requirements
- Hazard Perceptiont
- Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing
- Night Operation
- Extreme Driving conditions
- Skid Control, Jackknifing, and other emergencies.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (USDOT)
USDOT is the federal Cabinet department of the government which is concerned with transportation. The transportation department was established on October 15, 1966. The operations came into effect on April 1, 1967. The Head of the United States Department of Transportation(USDOT) is the secretary of transportation. The department's sole mission is to develop and coordinate policies that will provide an efficient and economical national transportation system that aims to serve the nation and its defense system.
FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION (FMCSA):
FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) is a government agency in the United States Department of Transportation which regulates the trucking industry of the United States of America. The preeminent mission of FMCSA is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities which generally involve heavy commercial vehicles like trucks, trailers, tankers, or busses. FMCSA portal is an online system that supports motor carriers to analyze and access crashes, inspections, reviews, or census information in several FMCSA IT systems in a single interface. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) are federal regulations of the trucking industry that are enacted and enforced by the FMCSA. The FMCSR does not generally apply to any specific employee, employer, and commercial motor vehicle who usually conduct their business within interstate commerce. The regulations are laid in accordance with withhold minimum standards which can cover all the people and entities who are operating interstate in the trucking business.
Functions of FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration):
- Data-driven regulations to efficiently manage and balance motor carrier safety.
- Harnessing Safety Information System to ensure safety for motor carriers who operate at higher risks.
- Handling of customer complaints.
- Maintenance of authoritative status and carrier insurance policies.
- Imparts educational messages to carriers, commercial drivers, and the general public.
- Collaboration with federal stakeholders, local enforcement agencies, motor carrier industries, safety groups, and organized labor institutions to collectively reduce the misfortunate instances of road crashes.
The new ELDT guidelines are not retroactive, but the individuals who were issued a CDL(commercial driver license) before February 7, 2022 are not required to complete the training for respective CDL or respective endorsement. The ELDT (Entry-Level Driver Training) guidelines as issued by FMCSA clearly state that all those interested individuals applying for Commercial Driver License must complete the respective training as per the listed modules of theory instructions and behind the wheel training.