Starting next month, all drivers who wish to get a new CDL or upgrade their current license must first meet new federal requirements.
With the new guidelines only weeks away, there are some concerns about the registry of certified trainers in North Dakota.
Among the new requirements for CDL drivers beginning Feb. 7 are increased hours for behind-the-wheel training and expanded knowledge training.
The federal rules also require potential drivers to receive practical training from certified operators or institutions.
These trainers must be listed in the publicly available training provider registry by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
“We got to see a sneak peek of the training registry website that will go live February 7th and from what we see it looks very easy to use. We don’t know who is on the registry yet but we’ve been told there are about 30 people….30 organizations registered and we expect to see more registered this month,” said Brad Schaffer, director of Drivers License at the Department of Transportation.
Schaffer said the new process isn’t as complex as some may think. He encourages drivers to visit the FMCSA website if they have questions.
However, Kelly Krapu, who is a safety specialist at True North Compliance Services, said it’s not as simple as that.
She explained some truckers may have difficulty finding trainers on that registry
“There is 30 on the list but of the 30 only seven of them are available for the general public, so that other 23 would be made up from companies who are already a trucking company or something of the like and they have certified one of their trainers to train already hired employees or potential drivers in their company, so there’s really only seven available for the public and the remainder are private companies,” she said.
That means truckers could find themselves on a waitlist for a very long time, even if you register to train with the certified institutions, according to Krapu.
She said this could worsen the trucker shortage and urges authorities to push back implementation for a year.
FMCSA has yet to respond to my request for an interview.
The federal government put the Entry-Level Driver Training in place to ensure uniformity in training for all CDL operators, with the goal of more safety on highways.
The requirements only apply to new drivers and those looking to upgrade their CDL on or after Feb. 7.