The Ohio Department of Education has filed an application with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for an exemption from the upcoming Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) rules for any drivers trained through the state's Pre-Service School Bus Driver Training curriculum, who are seeking to obtain their Class B Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with school bus (S) and passenger (P) endorsements, and to current Class B CDL holders wishing to add the P and S endorsements.
As we've explored previously, the FMCSA's ELDT rule is set to take effect on February 7, 2022, and will require that drivers seeking to obtain Class A or B CDLs or to add school bus, passenger, or hazmat endorsements to their existing CDLs obtain detailed training from a certified training provider before they will be eligible to take the skills tests necessary to complete their CDL transactions.
According to its application, the Ohio DOE contends its existing state laws, which require anyone operating a school bus in the state to complete 15 hours of theory and 12 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and to be periodically reevaluated, achieve a level of safety that is at least equivalent to the level that would be achieved by the ELDT rule. It argues that without the requested exemption, "Ohio school bus drivers would be required to have more training than anyone in the industry.”
What's unclear from the DOE's application is why the agency can't simply register itself as a training provider in the FMCSA's Training Provider Registry, though presumably, its curriculum doesn't cover all the topics that are required by the ELDT rule. The FMCSA is requesting public comments on the DOE's request, which can be submitted online at www.regulations.gov under docket number FMCSA-2021-0131.
For more details on the upcoming ELDT rule, check out the video below.