State driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) have the task of implementing federal regulations on truck driver testing and licensing. Those requirements have increased recently with the establishment by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of an entry-level driver training (ELDT) program intended to standardize and enhance the training regimen for new truck drivers.

At the same time, FMCSA recognized that SDLAs were challenged by the increased demand for commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) and by the limitations that the COVID-19 pandemic placed on state offices and personnel. To help meet that demand while retaining training quality, FMCSA implemented the Training Provider Registry, incorporating self-certifications by third-party CDL trainers.

Now, FMCSA wants to know: did they get this right? In this Information Collection Request, FMCSA seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of its ELDT and third-party examiners rules.

In particular, FMCSA asks:

  • Whether new truck driver pass rates and subsequent safety history indicates there has been an increase or decrease in fraud among third-party examiners.
  • Does third-party testing introduce significant differences in outcomes of CDL testing?
  • Could available data suggest a future study on the safety impacts of delegating CDL knowledge tests to third parties?

As to the ELDT program itself, FMCSA wants to know:

  • How the driving histories of drivers who received behind-the-wheel training before ELDT compare to those who completed the new ELDT program.
  • Similarly, how about driving histories based on theory instructions pre- and post-ELDT?
  • Finally, are there differences in the skills test pass rates before and after the new ELDT program?

No doubt, the SDLAs will have their own experiences and statistics to share about ELDT and third-party testing. But motor carriers see the impacts first-hand when seeking knowledgeable and safe truck drivers. This ICR creates an opportunity to affect the flow and quality of new truck drivers. Comments are due by Nov. 21, 2022.


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