Driver training group frustrated with training rule delay

The Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) has vowed to try to shorten the two-year regulatory delay on new minimum training requirements for entry-level truck drivers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) confirmed in November it would extend the deadline for its entry-level driver training (ELDT) rule by two years, from Feb. 7 of this year to Feb. 7, 2022, based on public comments.

“This action will provide FMCSA additional time to complete development of the Training Provider Registry (TPR),” according to an interim final rule made public Wednesday. “The TPR will allow training providers to self-certify that they meet the training requirements and will provide the electronic interface that will receive and store ELDT certification information from training providers and transmit that information to the State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs).”

FMCSA said the extension also provides SDLAs with time to modify their IT systems and procedures to accommodate driver-specific ELDT data from the TPR.

But CVTA said its member driver training schools have been updating training and reporting requirements since 2018 to prepare for the original compliance date. Postponing it two years “deals a blow to safety advocates and the professional driver training community,” asserted CVTA President Don Lefeve.

“CVTA will continue to push for ELDT implementation prior to the two-year delay,” Lefeve said. “We look forward to working with the FMCSA and all interested parties to speed up implementation and lead outreach to states and industry stakeholders.”

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS), which lobbies on behalf of truck accident victims and their families, in November contended that the extension reflects a lack of commitment at FMCSA. “Congress first instructed [regulators] back in 1991 to do a rule on this, so they’ve been working on it for decades and just can’t seem to get it right,” AHAS general counsel Peter Kurdock told FreightWaves at the time.

Because the rule is being delayed two years, FMCSA estimates it will result in $20 million in cost savings to motor carriers in 2020, with similar savings in 2021, according to the rule. “As this final rule only defers the compliance date to 2022, it will not impact motor carrier costs in 2022 through 2029 relative to the baseline.”

The interim rule allows the public to petition the FMCSA to reconsider the change. Those public comments must be received within 45 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register.