This week, U.S. Senators introduced legislation that would provide smaller motor carriers with regulatory relief from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.
TRUCKS Act Would Help Small Trucking Companies, Senators Say
The “Trucking Regulations Unduly Constricting Known Service-providers” (TRUCKS) Act was introduced by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Mike Rounds (R-SD), according to a September 15 news release from Cramer’s office.
The bill would work to reverse some requirements of the FMCSA’s Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rule that went into effect on February 7, 2022.
Cramer called the ELDT rule “burdensome,” “costly,” and “time consuming,” noting that “ELDT training classes range from $450 to $8,500, depending on the trainer, and can take anywhere from three days to 20 days to complete.”
The TRUCKS Act would allow drivers at trucking companies with nine or fewer CDL drivers on staff to earn a “Small Business Restricted CDL,” which would not require the driver to undergo ELDT training. The restricted CDL would not transfer if the driver moved to a larger company.
Cramer said that the TRUCKS Act would be good for small businesses, helping them to fill driver seats more easily. He also said that the TRUCKS Act would allow workers in agriculture, school districts, and local government to obtain CDLs without the burden of ELDT requirements.
“With the current supply chain issues and shortage of truck drivers nationwide at a time of tremendous demand, the last thing the transportation industry needs is more overbearing, bureaucratic red tape placed on them by the Biden Administration,” said Senator Cramer. “The TRUCKS Act allows states to exempt certain drivers from new ELDT requirements and provide regulatory relief to small trucking businesses ensuring we have drivers on the road to keep interstate commerce moving.”
“At a time when our nation is in a recession and faced with worker shortages and supply chain issues, American businesses should not have to battle the heavy hand of government,” said Senator Rounds. “We should be working on policies to help our producers and consumers, not hurt them. This legislation eases the burden on small trucking companies, agricultural producers, school districts and local units of government. It also gives power back to the states so they can decide their own rules of the road.”
What Are ELDT Requirements?
The ELDT rule establishes minimum requirements for entry-level driver training standards for training providers and CDL applicants.
The rule applies to the applicants who want to:
- Obtain a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time;
- Upgrade an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL; or
- Obtain a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time.
These applicants are required to obtain training from a provider listed on the FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry. This training must be completed before taking a CDL skills test or, if the driver is applying for the H endorsement, the knowledge test.