SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented new guidelines for increased training back in 2012 and after several delays, starting in February, entry-level driver training becomes required for commercial drivers.
First-time CDL and school bus drivers, along with those looking to upgrade their license class are just a few who will have to go through entry-level driver training, or ELDT. It includes two parts: a theory section and behind-the-wheel training.
Training like this is already offered at driver training schools and trucking companies statewide. President and CEO of the Iowa Motor Truck Association Brenda Neville said who might be affected by the new law right away.
“The thing that’s going to be difficult, that could be problematic, let’s say you have a farm kid from Sioux City that just wants to go get their CDL. In the past, they could just go to the Iowa DOT and do that. I mean they could just take the written exam and do the driver test without any training. Some of those kids would pass,” said Neville.
Rod Herron has trained kids at Western Iowa Tech for 12 years now and said the theory portion as well as the range and public road driving assessments are already included in their curriculum. Herron and Neville agree that the goal of the ELDT is to enhance drivers’ skills and reduce the risk of accidents on the road.
“With the ELDT, they project it’s going to lower the accident rate about 11 to 14 percent, something like that. It’s gonna help weed out the drivers that are not as confident,” said Herron.
“We certainly need drivers, right? But on the other hand, we have to do everything possible to ensure that the safest drivers are behind those wheels and so that’s really what this is in place to do,” said Neville.
“Yeah, it might appear to be like it’s a big burden but it’s going to put better drivers out there,” said Herron.
Herron says WIT’s program, along with the other 12 community colleges in Iowa, will be a part of the federal Training Program Registry once it goes active next month.