Beginning Feb. 7, all drivers will need entry-level driver training (ELDT) before applying for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) class A or B, upgrading a CDL (e.g Class B holder seeking a Class A CDL) or seeking certain endorsements.

It’s not as scary as it sounds.

The requirement applies to first-time class A or B CDL applicants and those upgrading to a Class A or B CDL or seeking an endorsement for hazardous materials (H), passengers (P), or school buses (S).

This isn’t the typical “truck driving school” that everyone typically thinks of. Now, truck driving schools might offer this training. In all likelihood, ELDT will not take as long or be as expensive as “truck driving school.”

The training must be provided by an entity listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Training Provider Registry website. Those providers can include state and local governments, school districts, owner-operators and individuals. So, as it stands now, farming operations would be able to provide their own ELDT if they have been approved by the FMCSA to do so.

The FMCSA will begin registering training providers in November.

The important thing to remember is that the training requirement applies only to certain drivers – those applying for and/or upgrading a CDL or seeking a certain endorsement.

Those renewing an existing CDL and not changing the class of license or adding an endorsement will not be required to undergo training. Those with a non-CDL driver’s license will not be required to have the training. Training is not required for individuals with a non-CDL J50 or those with the non-CDL J51 license available to individuals who qualify for farmer exemptions from the CDL.

The FMCSA has more information and steps to become a training provider online.

Have a trucking- or transportation-related question or questions? If so, email us at ViewFromTheRoad@ilfb.org, and we’ll do our best to answer each one.

Kirby Wagner serves as assistant director of transportation and infrastructure for Illinois Farm Bureau.