FMCSA Makes It Easier To Upgrade CDL, Claims The Move Will Save $18 Million Per Year

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced a final rule streamlining the process and reducing costs to upgrade from a Class B to Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

By adopting a new Class A CDL theory instruction upgrade curriculum, the final rule will save eligible driver trainees and motor carriers $18 million annually the agency projects.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said of today’s announcement:

“Today’s action demonstrates the Department’s commitment to reducing regulatory burdens and addressing our nation’s shortage of commercial drivers.” 

FMCSA is amending the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations published on December 8, 2016.  The ELDT rule requires the same level of theory training for individuals obtaining a CDL for the first time as for those who already hold a Class B CDL and are upgrading to a Class A CDL.

 

In a release, the FMCSA said it recognizes that because Class B CDL holders have prior training or experience, they should not be required to receive the same level of theory training as individuals who have never held a CDL.  Therefore, the agency concluded this change will maintain the same level of safety established by the 2016 ELDT rule.

FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez commented on the new changes:

“This effort is a common-sense way of reducing the regulatory burdens placed on CDL applicants and their employers. FMCSA continues to strategically reform burdensome regulations to improve the lives of ordinary Americans by saving them valuable time and money – while simultaneously maintaining the highest level of safety.”

FMCSA estimates that over 11,000 driver-trainees will benefit annually by this rule and see an average reduction of 27 hours in time spent completing their theory instruction.  FMCSA further concluded eliminating this redundancy in the regulations will result in substantial time and cost savings to these driver-trainees, as well as to the motor carriers that employ these drivers.

The rule, which is set to go into effect Feb. 7, 2020, only applies to Class B CDL holders and does not change the behind-the-wheel (BTW) (range and public road) training requirements set forth in the 2016 ELDT rule.

 

All driver-trainees, including those who hold a Class B CDL, must demonstrate proficiency in all elements of the BTW curriculum in a Group A vehicle.

A copy of the final rule announced today is available here.

Learn more about FMCSA’s Entry-Level Driver Training regulations by visiting https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/commercial-drivers-license/eldt.

 

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