State officials in Alaska are requesting an exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) from driver training requirements that went into effect earlier this year.

Alaska’s formal request for an exemption from the FMCSA’s Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rule is set to publish in the Federal Register on July 6.

The FMCSA’s ELDT rule went into effect on February 7, 2022, and establishes minimum requirements for entry-level driver training standards for training providers and CDL applicants.

As part of the exemption request, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy penned a letter to FMCSA officials, pointing to infrastructure issues within the “remote Alaskan communities” as one reason for the request.

“The US Department of Transportation, FMCSA, regulations that took effect in February require commercial drivers license (CDL) students to demonstrate proficiency at skills that are not necessary, nor able to be demonstrated in remote Alaskan communities. Specifically these regulations require driver-trainees to demonstrate proficiency in proper techniques for entry and exit on the interstate or controlled access highway, but these remote communities do not have the infrastructure or driving scenarios sufficient to meet this demand in the new regulations,” Dunleavy said.

Dunleavy also notes that applicants living in remote communities will now be required to fly into larger cities in order to obtain the required training at an estimated cost of $10,000 per person to cover the training, flights, meals, and lodging. He says that of the 1600 CDLs issued in Alaska each year, about 320 are issued to people working in remote Alaskan communities.

Dunleavy argues that the ELDT rules will have a “deleterious impact on Alaskans if a variance is not granted,” threatening the availability of various goods in remote communities.

For more on ELDT requirements, please click here.

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