Transport Insights

Providing Entry-Level Driver Training

Jill Schultz, Sr. Editor - Transportation Safety 

Date: 11/13/2021

With the new entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements going into effect on February 7, 2022, many motor carriers are working on a game plan to be able to provide instruction to their employees.

Gone are the days of a driver-trainee obtaining a learner’s permit, driving with a CDL holder for as little as a few hours, and then taking the CDL skills test. Under the new ELDT requirements, driver-trainees will be subject to a specific curriculum presented by an entity listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Training Provider Registry (TPR).


Theory Curriculum: Class A and Class B

The rule prescribes 30 specific theory topics in five areas of instruction, including:

  1. Basic operation (vehicle inspections, basic control, backing/docking);
  2. Safe operating practices (speed and space management, night driving, extreme driving conditions);
  3. Advanced operating practices (hazard perception, skid control and recovery);
  4. Vehicle systems (roadside inspections, identification and diagnosis of malfunctions); and
  5. Non-driving activities (hours of service, trip planning, medical requirements).

The rule does not include a minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on theory instruction. An assessment must be used to determine the driver-trainee’s proficiency for each unit of instruction. Driver trainees must demonstrate their understanding of the material by achieving an overall minimum score of 80 percent on the theory assessment.

Behind-the-Wheel Curriculum: Class A and Class B

Range and public road instruction are included in the behind-the wheel curriculum.

Range instruction covers seven topics, including vehicle inspections, backing, and parking. Public road instruction covers twelve topics, including vehicle controls, hazard perception, and visual search.

The rule does not require a minimum number of behind-the-wheel instruction hours. The driver-trainee is expected to be able to successfully repeat each required maneuver several times. The determination of proficiency is based on the instructor’s professional judgment.


The Training Provider Registry (TPR)

All ELDT instruction must be provided by a school or entity listed on the TPR. To be eligible for listing on the TPR, specific criteria addressing curriculum, instructors, facilities, vehicles, equipment, and recordkeeping must be met.

Training providers will need to complete an online application that includes:

  • Provider name, facility name, and contact information;
  • Whether driver enrollment is open to the public or by private enrollment;
  • Type of training provided, average training hours, and average training cost; and
  • Third-party affiliations, certifications, or accreditations.

The TPR application may be accessed at: