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What Is ELDT? Why Do You Need It?

ELD and ELDT. What’s the difference? One comes with Tomato, right?

As you embark on your journey to becoming a professional commercial driver, there's one very crucial requirement you must fulfill: Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT). In this blog, we'll walk you through some of the things you need to know about ELDT and its purpose.


What is ELDT?

Entry-Level Driver Training, or ELDT, refers to the mandatory training that all aspiring commercial drivers must undergo before obtaining their CDL. The program was introduced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to enhance road safety by ensuring that entry-level drivers receive standardized training in essential knowledge and skills.

Why do you need ELDT?

  1. Safety First: Safety is of utmost importance in the trucking industry. ELDT is designed to equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) safely, reducing the likelihood of accidents and incidents on the road.

  2. Legal Requirement: Fulfilling the ELDT requirements is a regulatory necessity. You won't be eligible to obtain your CDL without completing the mandated training. It is also recommended that you complete ELDT before obtaining your CLP. However, you can receive your CLP prior to completing ELDT but you will need to complete ELDT and obtain your CLP prior to completing the CDL skills test.

  3. Professionalism: ELDT instills professionalism in new drivers, teaching you the responsibilities and expectations that come with being a commercial driver. It will set you up for a successful and fulfilling career.

  4. Standardization: The ELDT program establishes consistent training guidelines nationwide, ensuring that all entry-level drivers receive the same foundational knowledge and skills, regardless of where they undergo training.

What is the difference between CLP, ELDT, and CDL?

  1. CLP (Commercial Learner's Permit): The CLP is the first step in obtaining a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). It allows you to practice driving a commercial vehicle under the supervision of a licensed CDL holder. To obtain a CLP, you must pass the relevant knowledge tests.

  2. ELDT (Entry-Level Driver Training): ELDT refers to the mandatory training all aspiring commercial drivers must undergo before obtaining their CDL. The program covers essential knowledge and skills necessary for safe CMV operation. You’ll also want to become familiar with ELD or Electronic Logging Device, but that’s a separate subject that you can learn more about here.

  3. CDL (Commercial Driver's License): The CDL is the final goal of your journey to becoming a professional truck driver. It permits you to operate commercial vehicles independently and earn a living as a professional truck driver.

Who is considered an entry-level driver in trucking?

According to FMCSA, the ELDT regulations apply to individuals who are:

  • pursuing a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time;

  • upgrading an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL; or

  • looking to acquire hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time

Entry-level drivers must obtain training and demonstrate proficiency in both theory training and behind-the-wheel training.

What's theory training?

Theory training, also known as classroom training, is a vital part of ELDT. During theory training, you'll learn about crucial topics such as vehicle inspection, hours-of-service regulations, road signs, safe driving practices, and more. This training ensures you have the necessary theoretical knowledge to operate a commercial vehicle safely and responsibly.

What's involved in behind-the-wheel training?

Behind-the-wheel training is the practical component of ELDT. During this training, you'll get hands-on experience operating a commercial vehicle under the guidance of a certified instructor. You'll learn essential skills like maneuvering, backing up, turning, and navigating various driving conditions. Behind-the-wheel training is crucial to building confidence and honing your driving abilities.

What is the training provider registry, and why is it important?

The Training Provider registry is a list of training schools and programs that meet the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) requirements established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Training providers included in the registry have demonstrated compliance with the FMCSA's ELDT regulations, ensuring they offer quality and standardized training for aspiring commercial drivers. Choosing an ELDT-approved training school from the federal registry helps ensure that you'll be adequately prepared for obtaining your CDL and becoming a professional truck driver and maybe even a future trucking business owner. Learn more about obtaining your commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and commercial driver’s license (CDL) here.

It’s critical that your ELDT training provider is listed on the federal registry. If your ELDT training provider is not listed on the federal registry, you will not be allowed to test for your CDL. You’ll be out a great deal of time and money.

To learn more about ELDT Applicability review the FMCSA’s website which has answers to FAQs as well as information on ELDT exemptions.

The journey to obtaining your Commercial Driver's License (CDL) begins with fulfilling the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) requirements. ELDT not only enhances safety and professionalism but also standardizes the training you receive, benefiting the entire trucking industry.

Remember, becoming a professional truck driver is a significant responsibility, and ELDT equips you with the tools to navigate the roads safely and efficiently. Embrace the training, enjoy the learning process, and get ready to embark on a fulfilling career in the trucking industry!


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Soshaul Logistics LLC and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. It is meant to serve as a guide and information only and Soshaul Logistics, LLC - Copyright 2023 - does not assume responsibility for any omissions, errors, or ambiguity contained herein. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction or operation.


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