The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has delayed implementation of the entire entry-level driver training (ELDT) rules, set to originally take effect on Feb. 7, 2020. This means the regulations will now take effect on Feb. 7, 2022.

FMCSA had previously delayed only the ELDT provisions relating to online verification that the required training had occurred. Now FMCSA cites the same IT (information technology) difficulties, particularly in setting up the Training Provider Registry (TPR) and in meeting new Department of Transportation standards for cloud-based IT systems.

The FMCSA delay announcement does not propose to change the substantive ELDT provisions – who must obtain training, who can provide training, the training curriculum and assessment standards. It also does not propose to change the requirement that training be successfully completed before state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) issue or upgrade a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or endorsements.

The announced delay of implementation to February 2022 instead specifically affects the following:

  • The date by which training providers must begin uploading driver-specific training certification information into the TPR, an electronic database that will contain ELDT information
  • The date by which SDLAs must confirm that applicants for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) have complied with ELDT requirements prior to taking a specified knowledge or skills test
  • The date by which training providers wishing to provide ELDT must be listed on the TPR
  • The date by which drivers seeking a CDL or endorsement must complete the required training, as set forth in the ELDT final rule

Following the initial delay of the online verification provisions, many reviewers had anticipated that the entire ELDT rule may be delayed. Several credible commenters had called for that delay to avoid confusion among industry and government. So, why did FMCSA “wait till the last moment” to announce the full delay?

The delay of the announced implementation of any regulation requires public notice and, generally, a time for public comments. A look at the organization section of the ELDT rules shows the long list of topics FMCSA must address in any rulemaking. Many of these rulemaking sections are required by the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs all federal regulatory development. Other sections reflect mandates by Congress and executive orders intended to address legislative and executive areas of concern when any federal rulemaking is undertaken.

All of these steps take time, and many require revision of past calculations. So, while fixing the recurring IT problems and IT coordination between the federal and state governments and the private sector would bring welcome certainty to future FMCSA regulations, the very rulemaking process itself is time-consuming. And that is why, in this instance, FMCSA has found “good cause” to move forward with the delay.

You can read about how the entry-level driver training rules will affect the trucking industry. Download this updated version of the PrePass whitepaper “What You Need to Know About New Entry-Level Driver Training Rules for Truckers.”