Drivers will need entry-level training prior to getting CDL or CDL upgrade

By Kay Shipman

All drivers will need entry-level driver training before applying for a commercial driver’s license (CDL), upgrading a CDL or seeking certain endorsements, according to the Illinois Farm Bureau assistant director of transportation and infrastructure.

Under a congressional mandate, the entry-level training requirement takes effect Feb. 7, 2020. The requirement applies to first-time 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).

“The training must be provided by an entity listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Training Provider Registry website,” Wagner said. The training must include both classroom and behind-the-wheel components. 

FMCSA noted the agency will begin registering training providers in November.

Wagner pointed out the training requirement applies only to certain drivers -- those applying for and/or upgrading a CDL or seeking a certain endorsement.

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“Those renewing an existing CDL and not seeking to change the class of license or add an endorsement will not be required to undergo training,” he said. Likewise, individuals 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, Wagner added.

Providers may include training schools, educational institutions, rural electric cooperatives, motor carriers, state and local governments, school districts, joint labor-management programs, owner-operators and individuals. Wagner explained entities may be eligible to provide their own training. The definition of “entities” encompasses owner-operators and individuals.

FMCSA lists steps for an entity to be eligible to be listed on the Training Provider Registry online here.

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