DOT to delay verification protocol of entry-level driver training rule

The compliance date for two key provisions in a looming federal rule that sets training standards for new truck drivers will be delayed. In a proposal slated to be published Thursday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will announce it intends to delay by two years — from Feb. 7, 2020, to Feb. 7, 2022 — the requirement that trainers upload drivers’ certification information into the agency’s database and the requirement that states confirm that CDL applicants have complied with the new training standards before allowing them to take a CDL skills or knowledge test.
However, FMCSA insists that the new curriculum and the required behind-the-wheel training established by the entry-level driver training rule will take effect Feb. 7, 2020, despite the delay in the methods meant to verify compliance with the regulations.
Likewise, the FMCSA says that training providers — which include carriers who train CDL applicants in house — must be registered in the agency’s Training Provider Registry.
Officially titled Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators, the final rule was published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in late 2016, intended to create a federal standard for training drivers and establishes the registry of certified trainers.
The rule requires schools to teach 31 specific theory courses and 19 behind-the-wheel skills courses, and it requires trainees to score an 80 percent on a theory assessment and show proficiency in the 19 skills tests to be certified to take a state-issued CDL skills test.
These stipulations of the rule will still take effect Feb. 7, 2020, FMCSA says. But trainers will have an extra two years to to comply with the requirement that they upload certification that drivers have completed their training. State driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) will also receive an additional two years to comply with the requirement that they check to ensure CDL applicants have completed training at a registered training provider before issuing a knowledge test or completing a skills test.
The two-year extension is due to a lag in IT infrastructure needed to allow training providers to upload and transmit drivers’ records, FMCSA says. The extension also will allow states to ensure their systems are in place to receive CDL applicant information.
The agency will accept public comments on the proposed delay for 30 days from when it’s published in the Federal Register — scheduled for Thursday. Comments can be made at the regulations.gov rulemaking portal via Docket No. FMCSA-2007-27748.