The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration formally published a two-year delay to the compliance deadline for the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program, which is available in the Federal Register here. On January 29th, FMCSA announced the delay on the agency’s homepage. The delay changes the compliance deadline for all participants from February 7, 2020 to February 7, 2022. In July 2019, FMCSA proposed a two-year delay to parts of the ELDT program applicable to state licensing agencies; however, the agency received significant feedback to delay the entire program for all stakeholders.
FMCSA was congressionally mandated to create ELDT through the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), and the agency concluded the rulemaking process in December 2016. NPGA advocated against several components of FMCSA’s initial proposal, like a minimum number of hours behind the wheel, which were ultimately removed from the final rule. After finalization, NPGA partnered with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) to identify how we can develop materials to assist the propane industry in compliance with the ELDT program.
ELDT applies to new Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) applicants or new Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) applicants. It does not apply to currently licensed drivers or Commercial Learner’s Permits obtained before the compliance deadline, unless the CDL-holder is seeking an HME. It also applies to all other endorsements, such as Passengers.
ELDT includes a two-part curriculum that must be completed before the applicant sits for the CDL or HME exam with the state license office: classroom or ‘theory’ curriculum, and behind the wheel training (range and public road). The classroom education includes a written/electronic exam that the applicant must pass with a score of 80 percent. The person providing behind the wheel training (trainer) must ‘self-certify’ or attest to satisfactory performance of vehicle operations by the applicant. The trainer must have a CDL at or above the level sought by the applicant. A similar classroom and exam format apply to CDL-holders seeking an HME.
The classroom and behind the wheel training must be provided by an entity or person registered in FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry, which is a database subject to record keeping requirements and audit.
NPGA and PERC continue to work together through the delayed compliance deadline to develop compliance materials for the propane industry. NPGA is collaborating with PERC to create the basic classroom curriculum and behind the wheel training materials that a propane marketer needs in order to provide in-house training. In addition, NPGA is working on an administrative service that would allow NPGA to serve as the official training provider subject to FMCSA recordkeeping and audit.
Please direct any questions to Sarah Reboli, NPGA Deputy Counsel, Regulatory Affairs.