New nationwide CDL training requirements take effect next week
New entry level driver training requirements impacting incoming truck drivers go into effect across the US on Monday, February 7th.
Rodney Knittle, Assistant Director of Transportation and Infrastructure for Illinois Farm Bureau, tells Brownfield anyone who wants to upgrade to a Class A or Class B CDL or hazardous or passenger vehicle license is now required to complete an entry level driver training.
“Depending on where you are at, your employer could register through the FMCSA to be a training provider and in other places you would need to go to a truck driving school to get your CDL.”
He says depending on your state, this will likely require more money and time to complete.
“Driving schools here in Illinois for instance from what I have seen can cost anywhere from $2500 to $3800.”
He says the good news for famers is there is an ag exemption depending on how your state identifies a covered farm vehicle.
“People in Missouri, for instance, I think can drive a covered farm vehicle with what they call a Class E license, and some states can drive with what we call a plain Class D license in Illinois, and that would not require any entry level driver training.”
But he says it still creates challenges in the industry especially for smaller ag businesses, since many large facilities already have a similar training plan in place.
Knittle says the timing of implementation is not ideal considering the current nationwide labor and trucking shortage, but the training requirement legislation was passed back in 2016 and implementation was delayed in 2020 so the industry has seen this coming. Anyone who has had a CDL in the past is not required to complete the training.