Entry Level Driver Training
CDL Training Solutions for Small Businesses in Rural America
Starting next February, specifically on February 7th, 2022, a new requirement is being introduced: Entry Level Driver Training for anyone looking to upgrade their CDL or obtain an initial CDL. While the reasoning behind this rule is clear, I hold a differing perspective, particularly concerning rural America.
Having grown up on a farm around trucks and equipment, I understand the significance of being familiar with what you operate before extensive use. Do CDL schools truly impart the practical knowledge that your own team can provide? The answer, in my view, is no.
CDL schools primarily focus on preparing students to pass the CDL exam. Unfortunately, most training facilities allocate limited driving time, with four students sharing a truck for about two hours a day during a five-week program. This equates to just 40 hours of actual driving experience, which is barely a week in the real world. Moreover, students typically never pull any kind of load during their training.
I bring up these points because I believe this new rule won’t necessarily produce better drivers; it will mainly make it more challenging to train new ones.
Now, let’s delve into the costs involved. To illustrate the potential impact on small businesses in rural America, I’ll use round numbers:
1. The training program itself costs $4,000 over an 8-week duration.
2. Paying the driver $500 a week for training adds another $4,000, totaling $8,000.
3. Considering the scarcity of nearby CDL training facilities, budgeting $4,000 for the employee’s travel expenses over 8 weeks is prudent.
4. Training the new CDL drivers within your company for 1-2 weeks, with the new driver earning $500 a week and the company trainer receiving $1,000 a week, amounts to another $3,000.
So far, this totals $15,000 for an employer to assist an employee in obtaining or upgrading their CDL. This calculation doesn’t even include the cost of keeping an employee on the payroll for 10 weeks without any work.
Small businesses may struggle to support their employees in self-improvement when faced with such significant upfront costs. This is where Eclipse DOT comes into play.
We are developing an on-demand online course for the classroom portion of the training required after February 7th, 2022. This means your employees can obtain their CDL permit and start our online course during their free time, using a phone or computer. They can then continue their training with your team, getting to know the trucks they’ll actually operate and the routes they’ll take.
Once they’re proficient and meet your standards, you can schedule them for Behind the Wheel training with our team. This should satisfy federal regulations in 1-3 days, provided you’ve trained them adequately on your end. They will take their CDL test with one of our CDL testers, not their trainer, potentially using one of your rigs they are already familiar with.
In the end, you lose one truck and one employee for a few days, at a fraction of the cost of traditional training programs. It’s a win-win for all parties involved.
For more information on ELD and federal requirements, reach out to our team at Eclipse DOT (Info@eclipse-dot.com). To learn more about our program and how we can assist you, feel free to contact me personally at 970-749-9449. I’ll do my best to guide you in the right direction.
Until next time, stay safe out there, and keep the rubber side down.
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