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Minimum Training Requirements for Commercial Entry-Level Motor Vehicle Operators

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49 CFR Part 380.500-380.513

Applicability and Compliance:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established standards for mandatory training requirements for entry-level drivers on four specific topics.  This regulation will apply to all drivers operating in interstate commerce including all motor vehicles, trucks, motorcoaches, buses, school buses, or combinations of motor vehicles.  An entry-level driver is defined by the FMCSA as a driver with less than one year of experience operating a CMV with a CDL in interstate commerce.  The effective date of this regulation is July 20th, 2004.

All new drivers hired after July 20th, 2004 must receive training BEFORE driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) and it is the employer’s responsibility to be sure that they do so.  There was a 90 day grace period for drivers who started driving between the dates of July 20th 2003 and July 20th 2004; these individuals must have received the training before October 18th, 2004.    

Industry Exceptions:

The only exceptions are drivers subject to Federal Transit Administration including transit bus drivers and other Federal, State, and local government agencies.

Training Requirements:

The training material used for new drivers must include instruction addressing the following four areas:

  1. Driver Qualification Requirements

This includes the Federal rules on medical certification, medical examination procedures, general qualification, responsibilities, and disqualifications based on various offenses, orders, and loss of driving privileges.

  1. Hours of Service

The limitations on driving hours, the requirement to be off-duty for certain periods of time, record of duty status preparation, and exceptions.  Also included should be fatigue countermeasures as a means to avoid crashes. 

  1. Driver Wellness

This should include information about basic health maintenance including diet and exercise, and the importance of avoiding excessive use of alcohol. 

  1. Whistleblower Protection

This should include the right of an employee to question the safety practices of an employer without the employee’s risk of losing a job or being subject to reprisals simply for stating a safety concern. 

Training Certificate Requirements:

The employer is required to place a copy of the driver’s training certificate in the driver’s personnel or qualifications file.  These must be kept for as long as the employer employs the driver and for one year thereafter.  It is also required that each employer issue a proof of training certificate to the employees receiving the training.  Each training certificate must include the following information:

  • Date of certificate issuance;

  • Name of training provider;

  • Mailing address of training provider;

  • Name of driver;

  • A statement that the driver has completed training in driver qualification requirements, hours of service of drivers, driver wellness, and whistle blower protection requirements substantially in accordance with the following sentence:

    I certify _______________ has completed training requirements set forth in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for entry-level driver training in accordance with 49 CFR 380.503.

  • The printed name of the person attesting that the driver has received the required training.

  • The signature of the person attesting that the driver has received the required training.

For more information, please contact the Safety and Health Department at (202) 624-6960.

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