FMCSA training rules came into effect from February 7, 2022, for all the aspiring trainee students who want to obtain Class A CDL or CLASS B CDL or upgrade a CDL or wish to obtain a Passenger (P), School Bus (S), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement. The instructions delivered also simultaneously vary according to the updated modules of the new Entry-Level Driving Training certification process.

In case of hazardous material endorsement, the driver must take prior theory training and knowledge tests for the H endorsement. The training must be listed on FMCSA's Trainer Provider Registry (TPR). The state driver legislative Agency (SLDA) must verify beforehand that an entry-level driver has the requisite training by cross-verifying information stored in the Training Provider Registry. Therefore, any school, employer, union, or individual providing training must register and check the program with the FMCSA and self-certify that all the ELDT requirements as mentioned in the training curricula outlined in section 49 CFR Part 380 appendices A through E concerned with the federal, state and local laws.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration amended its December 8, 2016, final rule, for the minimum training requirements for the Entry-level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators by extending their compliance date for the rule from February 7, 2022, and to allow more time for the development of the Training Provider Registry (TPR).

A total of 160 hours of total training, including practical (80 hours) and theoretical (80 hours) are mandated according to the latest guidelines required for the training.


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Who can Access Information from the Training Provider Registry?

The training provider Registry became fully functional before February 7, 2022. Therefore, all the CDL training centers and schools that provide Entry-Level Driver Training must access the TPR to submit driver training certification records within 2 business days. All the CDL applicants who are required to undergo entry-level driver training must use the TPR to search for a registered training provider. The Training provider registry legal requirements for ELDT trainer provider is to relent ELDT completion information of applicants on the Training Provider Registry. States must verify drivers' completion of required training using data made available by the TPR before administering relevant tests.

Theory Instructions of Entry-Level Driver Training (Knowledge Training):

Minimum Number of Theory Instruction Hours:

There are no set guidelines on the hours that driver-trainees must spend on the theory instruction. Therefore, the instructor must cover all of the curriculum topics as outlined in 49 CFR Part 380 Appendices A through F.

Mandatory Topics that are covered in the Class A or Class B CDL theory training:

The five areas of theory instruction and training topics for CLASS A and Class B CDL applicants are:

The section addresses the basics of becoming a professional truck driver, from the general requirements of HMR and FMCSR and other state and regulations and law authorities in regards to the operating characteristics of a Commercial Vehicle.

Orientation:The new addition as per the ELDT guidelines includes changes in the size and weight limits.

  • Instructions generally cover:
  • Checking and taking stops at weigh stations/scales.
  • Hazard awareness of weight limitations and vehicle size,
  • Low Clearances (Height restrictions),
  • Formulas and Calculations of bridge formulas.

Control Systems/Dashboards: According to the ELDT mandates addition to this topic include proper use of safety belts and mirrors.

Pre Trip and Post Trip Inspection: Appropriate Inspection locations must be added as per the updated ELDT guidelines.

Basic controls: Additions to this topic include maneuvering in restricted areas with simultaneous driving instructions on how to operate a commercial vehicle in entering and exiting interstate or controlled-access highways.

Shifting/Operation Transmission: Careful transmissions and shifting procedures are mandated and updated as per the new ELDT (Entry-Level Driving Training) rules.

Backing and Docking: Safe Docking of a commercial motor vehicle is added in the training topic as per the ELDT guidelines.

Coupling and Uncoupling: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations guidelines the driver must be able to couple and uncouple the trailers as mandated in the updated guidelines.

This section addresses the safe operation of a combination of a vehicle under various roads, weather, and traffic conditions. The training must include the proper use of seat belts as mandated in section 392.16 of the FMCSR (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations). The required topics with new notations are as follows:

Visual Search: Recognition of distracted drivers and pedestrians has been added to this training topic.

Communication: The addition of this topic includes proper eye techniques with the other pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.

Distracted Driving: Addition to this topic include discussion of using mobile phones and texting and improper cell phone regulations in the part 392 Subpart H of the FMCSR. Topics that must be included:

  • Visual attention (keeping attention on the road),
  • Manual Control (keeping hands on the wheel),
  • Cognitive Awareness (keeping concentration on the task and safe operation of the CMV),
  • Speed Management
  • Space Management
  • Night Operation
  • Extreme Driving Conditions

This section involves higher-level skills necessary to identify and manage potential hazards on the road. This section is covered after the fundamental skills and knowledge covered in the previous sections. The required Training topics about what is new are as follows:

Hazard Perception: Identification and recognition of potential dangers or contingencies that might arise when driving the commercial vehicle in construction/work zones are added in the training topics.

Skid Control/Recovery/Jackknifing and other emergencies: Adequate response to tire blowouts, hydroplaning and rollovers of the commercial vehicle are added in the training topic. The updated instruction must include a review of unsafe acts and the role acts play in the contingency or the emergency.

Railroad Highway Grade Crossing: Recognition of potential dangers and appropriate safety procedures at highway - railroad grade crossings are to be potentially added. The instruction generally includes:

  • An overview of federal and state crossing regulations,
  • Obstructed view conditions,
  • Crossing Environments,
  • Clearance around the Tracks,
  • Rail signs and signals,

The instruction must also address emergency notification systems when it comes to unsafe obstructions like unsafe vehicles on the railroad or the railway tracks.

This section addresses the importance of understanding the combination of tractor-trailers or other commercial vehicles, and their system and subsystem to verify and confirm the vehicle inspection, operation, and maintenance as these issues have an impact on both operational efficiency and highway safety. The requisite training topics about what is new are as follows:

  • Identification and Diagnosis of Malfunctions
  • Roadside Inspections
  • Items that must be added include:

What is the basic expectation during a standard roadside inspection?

What driver and vehicle violations were rendered as out of service?The penalties of operating a CMV when subject to an out of service orderMaintenance

This section recognizes and addresses activities that do not directly involve the operation of the commercial motor vehicle. The required topics about what is new are as follows:

Documentation of Cargo: Recognition of any theft of the cargo must be added to the following training modules.

Conventional Adherence to environmental issues: Necessary recognition of environmental issues and hazards in regards to load and operation of commercial motor vehicles must be carefully observed by the instructor. Students are also made according to the recent ELDT mandates that federal, state, country, or city requirements are also to be added in the training topic.

Hours of Service Requirements: Discussion of various industry-specific exceptions and exemptions must be added to this training topic. Also, students must be instructed on the completion of both paper and electronic records of the duty status.

  • An overview of federal and state crossing regulations,
  • Obstructed view conditions,
  • Crossing Environments,
  • Clearance around the Tracks,
  • Rail signs and signals,

The instruction must also address emergency notification systems when it comes to unsafe obstructions like unsafe vehicles on the railroad or the railway tracks.

Awareness Of Fatigue and Overall Wellness

Driver condition of his/her physical condition immediately after the crash and notification (by the driver or other) to the authorities must be added. Post-crash drug testing procedures and alcohol testing must be added to this training topic.
The value of interpersonal communication skills/techniques to interact with law enforcement as well as what to expect during the roadside inspection process must be added. The impact of violating federal and/or state regulations on the driver's driving record and the motor carrier records are also to be thoroughly covered. And the students who are not English speaking are also to be covered in the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) English language proficiency tests.
The employee possesses the basic right to question the safety practices of an employer. The safety concern and risk of losing a job or being a subject to reprisals are mandatory and must be addressed.
The trainee-students are also to be instructed in the whistleblower protection regulation in 29 CFR Part 1978. The procedures for reporting to FMCSA incidents of coercion from motor carriers, shippers, receivers, or transportation intermediaries are also to be added.
The pros and cons of GPS (Global Positioning System) trip routing system software are also to be added.
Rules applicable to controlled substances (prescription drugs), alcohol testing related to CMV must also be added to the training topic.
The federal rules are to be included
  • Medical Certification
  • Procedures of medical examination
  • General Qualifications
  • Responsibilities

According to (Part 391, Subparts B and E) the disqualification is based on civil offenses or eradication of driving privileges. The Behind-the-wheel and theory can be delivered by distinct training providers, but it is mandatory that the training providers are specifically enlist on the Training Provider Registry of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. When the training is commenced the training provider must submit the information of certification of the driver-trainee (proof of training) to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The range and public road portions of the behind-the-wheel training must be delivered by the similar training provider.

It is mandatory that driver trainees commence both the behind-the-wheel training and theory training within the similar year, but the individuals who are seeking H endorsement receive an exemption

The overall minimum score of 80% on the theory modules and assessment is the basic requirement for the driver-trainee.

BEHIND THE WHEEL INSTRUCTIONS

CLASS A and CLASS B CDL:

Behind the wheel, instruction hours do not necessarily require a minimum counted instruction hours over the range and over-the-road training modules. Therefore, the instructor of the accredited CDL training school must include and cover all the relevant topics mentioned in behind-the-wheel curriculum training.

The behind-the-wheel training is conducted and delivered relevantly to the trainee students when the instructor verifies that his trainee students have acquired actual control over the power unit during the driving lesson being conducted on the range. A range is defined in section 380.605 under the FMCSR guidelines as a registered area which is allotted free of every obstruction like heavy traffic or busy hours on road. The range enables the driver to maneuver and handle the power unit free of unnecessary interferences of other vehicles and hazards. The range has adequate sightlines so that trainee students can efficiently practice their driving skills and perform professionally in the ever-dynamic trucking industry.
Behind-the-wheel driving instructions include specific driving exercises in concern to the relevant driving skills (included in the sections 383.111 and 383.113 of the FMCSR's) which are mandatory to operate a Commercial Motor Vehicles safe handling procedures must imperatively include training procedures like:

  • Pre-Trip/ En-route /Post Trip assessment of the vehicle
  • Straight-line Backing
  • Alley Back Docking(45/90)
  • Off-set Backing
  • Parallel Parking Blind Side
  • Parallel Parking Sight Side
  • Coupling and Uncoupling(CLASS A only)

Behind-the-wheel training on the public road is conducted by the behind-the-wheel instructor when the trainee student has actual control over the power unit after successfully completing theory modules of training.

  • Safe Handling of Commercial Vehicle Unit which includes cautious left and right lane changes
  • Vigilant Curving at the highway speeds
  • Solicit entry and exit on the interstate access highways
  • Prudent handling on the controlled-access highways.
  • Shifting/Transmission
  • Signaling/Communication
  • Carefully laying the visual search
  • Dynamic Space and Speed Management
  • Safe Driver Behavior
  • Hours of service requirements
  • Hazard Perception
  • Operation during the Night Hours
  • Driving Commercial Vehicle units in extreme Driving conditions
  • Avoiding Skid Controls/ Recovering The unit in case of Skidding
  • Other bizarre emergencies like Jackknifing.

It is mandatory that the instructor engages in active two-way communication with the trainee students at all times during the active behind-the-wheel training sessions. The trainee-student performance is assessed on the basis of proficient completion of behind-the-wheel training and assessed accordingly on the range and public road.

The proficiency determination is solely based on the professional judgment of the instructor. FMCSA firmly believes that the demonstrated proficiency requires some level of lucrative repetition of the requisite behind-the-wheel curricula elements, as determined by the expert of the training school. The instructors cross-verify that the trainee- students can perfectly maneuver the power unit perfectly with the required demonstrated proficiency. Instructors effectively take into consideration the total number of clock hours each driver-trainee spends to complete the behind-the-wheel curriculum. The total time spent in the operation of the commercial motor vehicle when the driver-trainee is not in control or not actively operating the commercial vehicle in a public road or at the range.