Entry-level Driver Training Final Rule Released

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established new minimum training standards for certain individuals applying for a Class A or Class B commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the first time; an upgrade of their CDL (e.g., a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL); or a hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S) endorsement on their CDL for the first time. 

These first-time license seeking individuals are subject to the entry level driver training requirements and must complete a prescribed program of theory (knowledge) and behind-the-wheel (BTW) (range and public road) instruction provided by an entity that is listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry.

The final rule incorporates performance-based concepts by requiring that driver-trainees demonstrate proficiency in both the BTW and theory portions of the curricula. The final rule responds to a Congressional mandate imposed under the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21). The rule is based, in part, on consensus recommendations from the Agency’s Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC), a negotiated rulemaking committee that held a series of meetings in 2015. ABA participated in the negotiated rulemaking along with Greyhound and other bus industry representatives.

Key Highlights

  • The final rule does not include any minimum hours for behind the wheel training
  • Theory training requirements include no minimum number of theory training hours
  • A proficiency standard must be met
  • No refresher course training required for CDL holders who lose their licenses, get suspended or revoked
  • Simulator training is not the same as behind the wheel! The rule does not permit BTW training to be conducted by using a driving simulation device, and a driver-trainee may not use a simulation device to demonstrate proficiency. However, simulators may be used in theory training.

The entry-level driver training Final Rule has a compliance date of Feb. 7, 2020.

Petitions for reconsideration of this final rule must be submitted to FMCSA no later than Jan. 9, 2017.

View a copy of the final rule

If you have questions about the final rule or how it applies to your operations, contact ABA staff:

Suzanne Te Beau Rohde
Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy
(202) 218-7224

Brandon Buchanan
Director of Regulatory Affairs
(202) 218-7227

About the American Bus Association

The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry.


Melanie Hinton, Vice President, Communications & Marketing, ABA
Office: (202) 218-7220
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