Photo: Instructional Technologies
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FMCSA’s new requirements for entry-level driver training

April 23, 2019
The new rules in CDL schools will go into effect by February 7, 2020.

Instructional Technologies Inc. (ITI), a provider of training solutions for the transportation industry, has released the name of its new training program for drivers wanting to obtain a CDL: On Ramp Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT). This new system adopts new requirements demanded by FMCSA and will be fully operational by February 2020 for state, public, and private CDL schools.

The new ELDT rules:

Setting minimum standards for CDL schools: Instead of being determined state by state, the minimum standards will now be set at the federal level.

Overseen by Department of Transportation (DOT): These schools must record and report hours spent behind the wheel to the DOT even though there is no federal minimum.

Schools required to register and self-certify: Schools can self-certify instructors. Individual instructors do not have to register with the DOT, however, some states require them to be registered.

Requirements for teacher qualifications: Instructors are now required to have a minimum two years of driving experience, a clean MVR and a medical certification for classroom, on the road and private range instruction.  

Big increase in curriculum mandates: There will now be 31 theory course topics compared to the four knowledge topics previously required by the DOT. These course topics will be joined by 19 behind-the-wheel (BTW) skills now mandated and will be tested along with vehicle inspection skills at the state DMV.

Currently, any organization that meets state’s requirements can be a training provider. Starting in February 2020, a new Training Provider Registry (TPR) will come into effect where CDL schools must apply to join. It is important to note that this new registry created by the DOT is not live yet.

On Ramp ELDT is an online training, testing, and TPR connectivity program for those wanting to earn a CDL. This program will provide theory and testing on all 30+ core curriculum areas.

“Responsibility for the written test has essentially been put on CDL schools instead of DMVs, which places a great burden on them not only for providing training and content, but also for recordkeeping,” said Laura McMillan, VP of training development at ITI. “On Ramp eases that burden.”

Students will have 24/7 access to On Ramp ELDT as well as its group training modules. These modules make presenting and recording student attendance and participation much quicker and easier. For example, an instructor can show an On Ramp video in a classroom, and students will automatically get the accompanying quiz.  

On Ramp adopted a custom build LMS, called Sentix ELDT designed to meet the needs of schools and make it easier for them to meet the requirements of the new ELDT mandate. This new design collects information of registered students, including all data required by the mandate. It logs BTW hours from individual driver-trainees, and automatically send student completion data, including proficiency scores, to the TPR.

When asked if On Ramp ELDT would increase competition in the market for CDL training, McMillan stated that “there is a lot of speculation as to what impact there will be. When there was a cost benefit study done, it was believed that the industry could absorb the changes, but that it would put pressure on the driver shortage issue.”

About the Author

Catharine Conway | Digital Editor

Catharine Conway previously wrote for FleetOwner with a Master of Science in Publishing degree and more than seven years’ experience in the publishing and editorial industries. Based in Stamford, Conn., she was critical to the coordination of any and all digital content organization and distribution through various FleetOwner and American Trucker channels, including website, newsletters, and social media. 

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