A major change to federal requirements is on the horizon, and it will affect farmers and ranchers who want to obtain a CDL or let their CDL lapse to drive a semi-truck commercially. Starting Feb. 7, Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) will be required for those applying or upgrading to:
- Obtain a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time;
- Upgrade an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL; or
- Obtain a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time.
“This will not affect farmers and ranchers who already have their CDL license, but if you have let the CDL license lapse, if you are upgrading your CDL or you want a CDL license, it is best to get it soon rather than later. The federal rule goes into effect Feb. 7, 2022,” said Andrew Walmsley, senior director, Congressional Relations with the American Farm Bureau. “The ELDT regulations are not retroactive; the entry-level driver training requirements do not apply to individuals holding a valid CDL or an S, P or H endorsement issued prior to Feb. 7, 2022.”
The final rule responds to a Congressional mandate imposed under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The rule is based, in part, on consensus recommendations from the agency’s Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee, a negotiated rulemaking committee that held a series of meetings in 2015. Originally, the mandate was to go into effect February 2020, and FMCSA extended the compliance date to February of 2022.
“Don’t wait until January or February to get your CDL license; start planning for it now. Those 18 years or older are eligible to get a class A or B CDL. Under 21 years of age drivers will be restricted to in-state travel (intrastate). Once the written tests have been passed the applicant is given a commercial learner permit that is good for 180 days and can be renewed for another 180 days,” Walmsley said.
The rule aims to maintain higher driver standards by enforcing and mandating training for entry-level drivers.