Despite the new Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) standard enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, training schools can still benefit from getting their programs certified by the Professional Truck Driver Institute.

Simply complying with regulations might not demonstrate a higher level of professionalism, a dedication to quality, being an industry leader, or give you a competitive advantage. However, complying with regulations is an expectation of all businesses.  Schools meeting the ELDT requirements and becoming a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) “registered training provider” are roughly equivalent to motor carriers that have a DOT number.  It’s a requirement for doing business.

Your school won’t gain a competitive advantage by meeting the same government requirements that everyone else has to meet.  The ELDT standard creates a level playing field among schools by setting a minimum standard for the training curriculum that must be provided to entry-level drivers.  Gone are the days when schools less committed to quality training can get away with cutting corners in their course content – at least that’s the hope.

Aim for excellence

The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) certification demonstrates meeting a performance standard, not just compliance with regulations.  For high-performing organizations, compliance is a given.  What sets PTDI schools apart is that they aren’t just compliant, they perform better.  If your training program is certified through PTDI, it will go beyond compliance with the new ELDT rule. How do we know this?  Because the FMCSA’s ELDT curriculum requirements are largely based on PTDI’s curriculum standards, which were referred to as the “Gold Standard” by many involved in the development of the regulation.

Having a PTDI certified driver training course demonstrates to your carrier partners that you not only meet government requirements, you have a commitment to excellence.  You play at a higher level and have an objective, internationally-recognized measure to prove it.

Seal of approval

The ELDT addresses what schools need to do at minimum, but it doesn’t address how. PTDI certification evaluates how well-run the program is, ethics, staff development, operations, and the safety and quality of the facilities and equipment. PTDI verifies how you do business by visiting your school, interviewing your students, as well as the carriers that do business with you.

That means carriers and drivers alike can look at a PTDI-certified course as one having the equivalent of a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.”

While ELDT compliance is mandatory, PTDI certification is voluntary.  No one has to get certified, they choose to be.  Certification demonstrates a commitment to industry leadership, professionalism and quality, rather than just complying with government standards.  Being certified sends a message that you’re more than another school on the training registry; you’re a school committed to excellence.