Entry Level CDL- What You Need To Know

Entry Level CDL

We can classify vehicles as personal and commercial depending on their usage rather than the built or capacity. Every vehicle driver on the road must have a valid driving license that authorizes him legally to drive the automobile. A Commercial Driving License (CDL) gives legal authority to a person to drive a commercial vehicle. A driver needs to be expert and trained in driving and vigilant about traffic rules as they operate on the highways, so the driver must be able to go through some specific training and tests that can secure him getting a CDL. The objective is to maintain a standard of skill and knowledge acquired by drivers. The necessary procedures and regulations applicable in this process aim at achieving the benefits as follows:

The Entry-Level Driver Regulation

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in the USA has introduced Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations effective from February 2022. ELDT is like an entrance test to qualify for a commercial driving license. The rule also says that one must fulfill the training requirements before appearing for the exam. 

The primary objective of this regulation is to ensure safety and improve the responsibility of drivers. Some authorized providers conduct standardized training for the prospective candidates applying for CDL. These regulations came into force in response to the lack of uniform and consistent safety protocols across different states of the USA regarding transport operations.

The abovementioned ELDT rule is applicable in any of the three following cases: 

  1. Applying for a new license
  2. Upgrading the existing license
  3. Applying for hazardous material, school bus, or passenger vehicle endorsement.

Training Curriculum For Commercial Driving License

The new ELDT rule recommends training from FMCSA-approved providers. It has set up a standard curriculum that needs to be completed by the drivers. The curriculum should include five significant functions as follows:

  • Operational knowledge
  • Safe operating practices
  • Advanced operational procedures
  • Automobile system and malfunction reporting
  • Non-driving activities

Know more about Commercial Driver’s License here.

Let’s Know The Functions In Brief

Operational Knowledge

It includes knowledge about the operation of vehicles and their control mechanisms and inspection methods before and after the trip. 

 Safe Operating Practices

Safe operating practices involve awareness about speed and space management, factors of distractions, appropriate visual search, and communication process, especially under night operations and extreme driving conditions.

Advanced Operational Procedures

Advanced operational procedures include special safety precautions during railway track or highway guard crossing. It helps to acquire skills for perceiving potential hazards or risks and the ability to control the vehicle in case of skidding, turning, or any other emergencies.

Automobile System And Malfunction Reporting

The person needs to gather a thorough knowledge of regular maintenance of automobiles, on-road inspections, and identification and diagnosis of truck problems. 

Non-Driving Activities

There are a lot of activities that may not be directly related to the driving of commercial trucks but are extremely important to ensure the safety, compliance, and well-being of the vehicle and operators. The main points under these activities are as follows:

  • Statutory documentation and records
  • Medical requirements 
  • Compliance with environmental issues 
  • Awareness of fatigue and wellness management
  • Real-time external communications
  • Service requirements and maintenance schedule
  • Effects of drugs and alcohol 
  • Procedures and actions in response to accidents
  • Planning and route selection for the trip

Use of Electronic Logging Device

The entry-level driving regulations also make it necessary to use an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) in the vehicle. It is a type of device that captures the data of vehicles electronically without manual intervention. The drivers can use this to track their service hours, fuel consumption, mileage, engine operation, and overall automobile efficiency. Any driver doing a duty service for more than eight days in a month must comply with this rule of carrying an Electronic Logging Device. 

Otherwise, they can be penalized, and their license can be affected. It helps in accessing and managing information much more efficiently. The introduction of the ELD system intends to reduce paperwork, increase road safety, and track automobile efficiency. After getting the necessary training and qualifying for the test, a driver becomes eligible to run a commercial vehicle. But the license CDL holder should follow some guidelines regarding Electronic Logging Device, as mentioned below.

  • Read the device user guide and other related documents. 
  • Carry the user instruction manual for any reference.
  • The device requires mounting in a suitable fixed position inside the truck to be visible to the driver from the seat.
  • Training on the operation of the device is mandatory for drivers.


The requirement of entry-level training, which is a prerequisite for obtaining a commercial driving license (CDL), is an old practice that was started in the 1980s and went through various phases. There were modifications done time-to-time, keeping in view their connection with safety and compliance. The latest ELDT regulations have made the CDL process more stringent and more time-taking to ensure better road safety and efficiency of vehicles with the help of advanced technological tools.