Training for the Road
June 20, 2023
Written By Adam Buckallew
New Federal Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) requirements went into effect on Feb. 7, 2022, establishing a single national standard for obtaining a commercial driver’s license. The regulations set a baseline for training requirements for drivers seeking to:
• obtain a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time;
• upgrade an existing CDL from Class B to Class A; or
• obtain new endorsements for their CDL covering hazmat, passenger or school bus vehicles.
Current CDL holders were only affected by the new rules if they sought to upgrade or add endorsements to their existing licenses.
MFA Oil put together its own certified ELDT program with assistance from the National Propane Gas Association and the Propane Education and Research Council to train employees seeking a CDL. The company’s in-house ELDT program curriculum includes theory training modules and behind-the-wheel instruction by registered trainers at approved facilities.
The 31 theory training modules are available to employees through the company’s online learning platform. Once employees have completed the online educational units, they must pass an exam with at least an 80% score.
MFA Oil currently has four registered trainers: Tom Procter, director of safety and maintenance; David Grothoff, safety manager; Kenny Rawlings, senior safety specialist; and William Allison, senior fleet safety specialist. The company plans to register additional trainers soon.
Hands-on driving instruction is offered at the company’s two registered facilities: the bulk plant in Rogersville, Mo., and the Business Support Campus in Moberly, Mo. A third training site for behind-the-wheel instruction in southeast Missouri will be operational by Fall 2023.
Ed Harper, MFA Oil vice president of risk management, said the company’s development of an internal ELDT synergizes with a companywide focus on driver training and safety.
“The federal standardization presented us with a great opportunity to create a comprehensive driver teaching program tailored to our employees,” Harper said. “With an in-house ELDT program, we can ensure our trainees have the resources they need to be successful and that we have appropriate trucks and facilities available for testing.”
MFA Oil allows employees going through the program to drive the same trucks they would be working in daily.
“Training in the trucks they will drive and in the environment where they will work is beneficial to our employees and provides valuable hands-on experience,” Harper said.
Approximately 47 MFA Oil employees obtained new CDLs through the company’s ELDT in the past year.