The U.S. Department of Transportation has streamlined the process for upgrading from a Class B to a Class A Commercial Driver's License (CDL), the the organization said today.
The DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has upgraded its instruction curriculum to reduce the training time and costs incurred by Class B commercial driver's license (CDL) holders who are upgrading to a Class A CDL. The DOT said the new FMCSA rule will save eligible driver trainees and motor carriers $18 million a year.
"Today's action demonstrates the Department's commitment to reducing regulatory burdens and addressing our nation's shortage of commercial drivers," U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement announcing the change.
The FMCSA said it amended the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations published on December 8, 2016, which require 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.
"FMCSA 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. FMCSA has concluded this change will maintain the same level of safety established by the 2016 ELDT rule," according to the DOT.
FMCSA said it estimates that more than 11,000 driver-trainees will benefit annually from the new rule and see an average reduction of 27 hours in time spent completing their theory instruction. The administration also said the final rule applies only to Class B CDL holders and does not change behind-the-wheel (BTW) training requirements included in the 2016 ELDT rule.