New training requirements coming for entry-level CDL drivers

WILLISTON — TrainND Northwest will be increasing the training hours in its commercial driver’s license program beginning in January.

TrainND Northwest will be lengthening its course from 120 hours to 165 hours. This not only benefits entry-level driver students by offering increased time to learn new concepts but may be a solution for many industry partners, the agency stated in announcing the change. Many employers are reluctant to consider entry-level drivers who recently received their CDLs with minimal behind-the-wheel experience. Insurance companies may allow employers to hire entry-level drivers if they have successfully completed 165-hours of certificate-based CDL Training.

TrainND Northwest offers monthly open enrollment classes at its campus in Williston and during alternating months in Dickinson at Dickinson State University and in Minot, with the classroom portion at Job Service and the range/road portion at AGT Foods.

TrainND Northwest’s updated CDL program is a four-week course that meets the new Entry-Level Driver Training regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that take effect next Feb. 7. The comprehensive course provides students the opportunity to learn from experienced instructors, both in the classroom and behind the wheel.

The course may be eligible for funding under Veteran’s Educational Benefits and WIOA funding. Businesses are encouraged to investigate N.D. Career Builders programs.

The TrainND Northwest team conducted a thorough review of its CDL curriculum and found no major adjustments were required to meet the new federal rules. Beginning on Feb. 7:

— Prospective entry-level CDL drivers no longer will be able to challenge the Department of Transportation CDL driving test without successfully completing the required training outlined by FMCSA through an approved and registered training provider. There is no change to how or when an individual can get a Commercial Learner’s Permit.

— Training providers must be registered and approved by FMCSA on a new Training Provider Registry site. All completed training will be entered into the TPR system, by the training providers.

The FMCSA 2016 Entry-Level Driver Training Final Rule established minimum training standards for individuals applying for a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time; individuals upgrading their CDL to a Class B or Class A; and individuals obtaining the following endorsements for the first time: hazardous materials (H), passenger (P) and school bus (S). The final rule also defined curriculum standards for theory and behind-the-wheel instruction for Class A and B CDLs and the P and S endorsements, and theory instruction requirements for the H endorsement.

In addition, the final rule required verification of entry-level driver training completion before allowing an applicant to take a skills test for a Class A or Class B CDL, or a P or S endorsement or a knowledge test prior to obtaining the H endorsement. The final rule established the training provider registry and set eligibility requirements for training providers to be listed in the database.


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