UniteGPS – The application process to receive a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is about to change forever based on new Entry-Level Driving Training (ELDT) requisites. Beginning Feb. 7, 2022, the federal CDL training will require trainees to complete revised Theory and Behind-the-Wheel (BTW) curriculums from authorized providers.

New ELDT requirements

New CDL laws affecting training and certification will come into effect on Feb. 7, 2022

Mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), organizations offering CDL assistance will eventually join the Training Provider Registry. As part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, the purpose of this virtual database is to “ensure that only qualified drivers are behind the wheel of commercial motor vehicles.”

Anybody applying for a CDL, upgrading their license from Class A to B or receiving an H, P, and S endorsement for the first time after the Feb. 7 implementation will need to register with an instructor from a pre-approved training provider. From there, CDL trainees must satisfy over 30 theoretical areas and BTW sessions before taking the official road test.  

Theory portion of federal CDL training

For the Class A CDL, the revised ELDT curriculum revolves around five areas of theoretical knowledge including Basic Operation, Safe Operating Procedures, Advanced Operating Practices, Vehicle Systems, and Reporting Malfunctions, as well as Non-Driving Activities. Within these categories, trainees go over the following areas:

DesignationVisual SearchSpeed ManagementPost-Crash Procedures
OrientationCommunicationsSpace Management Maintenance
Control Systems and DashboardJackknifing and Other EmergenciesHandling and Documenting CargoHours of Service Requirements
Pre and Post-Trip InspectionsRailroad Highway Grade CrossingsEnvironmental Compliance IssuesFatigue and Wellness Awareness
Basic ControlDistracted DrivingTrip PlanningRoadside Inspections
Medical RequirementsExtreme Driving ConditionsWhistleblower/CoercionExternal Communications
Backing and DockingNight OperationHazard PerceptionSkid Control and Recovery
Coupling and UncouplingIdentification and Diagnosis of MalfunctionsShifting and Operating TransmissionsDrugs and Alcohol

The theory curriculum is identical for Class B licensure, minus material for jackknifing or coupling/uncoupling also excluded in the BTW lessons. There’s no minimum number of hours necessary to complete this section, as long as the trainee receives a score of 80% or higher. Every topic must be documented and covered.

BTW portion of federal CDL training

There are two distinct parts of the BTW portion with the ELDT guidelines: range training and public road training, each having different requisites. Like the theoretical segment for Class A licenses, there’s no minimum number of hours a trainee must fulfill. Rather, this area is more subjective considering that successful completion is based entirely on the instructor’s professional assessment.

Range Training: Instructors teach the following activities on a driving range rather than a public road. Here is also where instructors need to discuss the “Get Out and Look” (GOAL) to trainees.

Alley Dock BackingPre, Enroute, and Post Trip Inspections
Parallel Parking: Blind SideParallel Parking: Slight Side
Straight Line BackingOff-Set Backing
Coupling and Uncoupling

Public Road: The primary requirement here is that the aspiring CDL holders do the training in a vehicle of the same group or type of vehicle in which they’re planning on using for the actual road test. Once the trainee demonstrates proficiency in these areas, providers still need to record and share the hours with FMCA, in addition to meeting state guidelines.

Vehicle ControlsVisual SearchHours of Service RequirementsNight Operation
Shifting and TransmissionSpeed and Space ManagementHazard PerceptionExtreme Driving Conditions
Communications and SignalingSafe Driver BehaviorRailroad and Highway Grade CrossingSkid Control, Recovery, Jackknifing, and other Emergencies