FMCSA Project To Understand ELDT Program Effectiveness

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FMCSA want to know if ELDT third-party testing and CDL knowledge and skills tests are working.

To address these information gaps, FMCSA is conducting a project titled “Effectiveness of Third-Party Testing and Minimum Standards for the CDL Knowledge and Skills Test”, which will assess the effectiveness of the:

  • Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program
  • Third-party training provider performance, and
  • ELDT minimum standards compliance

According to the FMCSA, this is a one-time survey to determine institutional and programmatic issues in assessing the effectiveness of the ELDT programs and where improvements should be made.

What is the ELDT Rule?

The Entry-Level Driver Training rule, which was implemented on February 7, 2022, establishes new minimum training requirements for individuals who want to:

  • obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • upgrade a CDL, or
  • obtain a passenger (P), school bus (S) or hazardous materials (H) endorsement

Under these new requirements, an entry-level driver must successfully complete a prescribed program of theory and behind-the-wheel instruction.

[RELATED: You Can Receive Out-of-State CDL Training with Home State CDL Permit]

Prior to taking the knowledge test or the state administered CDL skills or hazmat endorsement tests, training must be provided by an entity listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR).

To obtain a CDL license, there are new requirements:

  • The minimum standards and requirements for CDL schools will be set at a federal level, as opposed to being set by each state.
  • DOT requires 31 theory course topics instead of the original four knowledge topics, which will be accompanied by 19 mandated behind-the-wheel (BTW) skills, that will be tested with vehicle inspection skills at the state department of motor vehicles.
  • CDL schools must record and report hours behind the wheel (no federal minimum) to DOT.
  • Driving instructors are required to have a minimum of 2 years driving experience, a clean motor vehicle record and a medical certification for classroom, on the road and private range instruction.

While there is no specific number of hours needed in theory training, driver trainees must demonstrate “proficiency” by passing theory curriculum with a score 80% or higher before taking the CDL test.

Learn more about all levels of truck driver training and CDL permit test preparation that we offer at our CNS Driver Training Center.

What questions will the ELDT information project try to answer?

This project is intended to address the following research questions:

  1. Is there evidence of increasing or decreasing fraud among third-party examiners based on the pass rates and subsequent safety history of CDL holders who were tested by third-party testers?
  2. Are there significant differences in the outcomes of third-party testing on CDL testing?
  3. Would it be feasible to conduct a future study on the safety impacts of delegating CDL knowledge testing to third-party testers based on available data?
  4. How do the driving histories of drivers who received behind-the-wheel training (pre-ELDT requirements) compare to drivers who completed the new ELDT requirements?
  5. How do the driving histories of drivers who received theory instruction (pre-ELDT requirements) compare to drivers who completed the new ELDT requirements?
  6. How do skills test pass rates of drivers pre-ELDT compliance compare to pass rates of drivers after the ELDT compliance date?
  7. Are there identifiable safety benefits that have been realized by the adoption of the 2005 AAMVA CDL Test Model?
  8. Are there external factors preventing SDLAs and the CDL community from achieving the full potential of safety benefits of the 2005 AAMVA CDL Test Model?

The public is encouraged to comment on any aspect of this information collection, including:

  • whether the proposed collection is necessary for the performance of FMCSA’s functions
  • the accuracy of the estimated burden
  • ways for FMCSA to enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the collected information, and
  • ways that the burden could be minimized without reducing the quality of the collected information.

The Agency will summarize or include your comments in the request for OMB’s clearance of this ICR.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or