Proposed Training for Entry-level CMV Operators By Atlantic/Smith, Cropper & Deeley 4/5/2016 OVERVIEW On March 7, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed new training standards for individuals applying for a new commercial driver’s license (CDL). The standards would also apply for CDL upgrades and certain CDL endorsements—hazardous materials, passenger or school bus. The proposal would require affected individuals to complete a course of instruction provided by a qualified training provider listed, or eligible for listing, with a proposed training provider registry. The FMCSA will accept public comments on this proposed rule until April 6, 2016. ACTION STEPS Employers should become familiar with this proposed rule and review their training programs and policies to determine whether they need to make adjustments if the proposed rule is implemented. Specifically, CMV carriers should evaluate whether their training programs are set up to meet current course curricula as well as requirements for program administration, qualifications for instructional personnel, training assessments, proficiency assessment, training facilities and training vehicles. Affected Individuals The proposed rule would affect certain individuals who drive, or intend to drive, commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in either interstate or intrastate commerce. Specifically, the proposed rule would require entry-level driver training (ELDT) for all individuals who are applying for: A new CMV operating license (entry-level drivers); A CMV license upgrade (from a Class B license to a Class A license); or A CMV license passenger (P), hazardous materials (H) or school bus (S) endorsement. The proposed rule would also require “refresher” training for disqualified CDL holders seeking reinstatement. However, the proposed rule maintains the general CDL exemption that currently exists for military drivers, farmers and firefighters. Proposed Curricula The proposed rule includes: A Class A and Class B CDL core curriculum; Training curricula related to hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), and school bus (S) endorsements; and A ‘‘refresher’’ training curriculum. The curricula are divided into theory and behind-the-wheel (BTW) training. The proposal does not provide for a minimum number of hours for theory training, but does propose minimums for BTW training, as shown in the table below. The FMCSA is seeking comments on the scope and the content of the proposed curricula. Training Providers The proposed rule would require CDL training providers to: Provide instruction on all elements of the applicable curricula; Become and stay eligible to be listed on the FMCSA’s proposed training provider registry; Maintain sufficient documentation to prove compliance with FMCSA standards in case of an audit; and Submit electronic certificates of completion for all trainees that complete the training course and achieve at least an 80 percent score in the assessment offered by the training provider. To meet the instruction requirement, the courses being taught must meet all FMCSA standards for entry-level drivers. They must also meet the requirements related to course curricula, administration, qualifications for instructional personnel, assessments, proficiency assessment, training facilities and training vehicles. Electronic certificate submissions would need to be provided the following business day and there would be no limit on the number of training certifications that can be submitted at one time. Compliance and Implementation If implemented, the FMCSA is planning to require full compliance with the final version of this rule within three years of the date when the rule becomes effective. The FMCSA is of the opinion that allowing a three-year implementation period would allow states and other agencies sufficient time to pass necessary implementing legislation and to modify their information systems. Information systems may need to be modified to begin recording the training provider's certification information onto each driver's CDL record and to begin making that information available to other states through the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS). The three-year period would also allow time for the driver training industry to develop and begin offering training programs that meet the eligibility requirements for listing on the FMCSA’s registry. Thanks for reading.