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News of new training requirements for new Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders has raised questions and concerns about how it impacts farmers. For this Legal with Leah, Ohio Farm Bureau Policy Counsel Leah Curtis discusses the New Entrant Training program rules and what they mean for agriculture.
Listen to Legal with Leah, a podcast featuring Ohio Farm Bureau’s Policy Counsel Leah Curtis discussing topics impacting farmers and landowners.
Ty Higgins [00:00:00] News of new training requirements for new CDL commercial driver’s license holders has raised some questions and concerns about how it impacts farmers. That’s our topic of discussion for this Legal with Leah. Leah Curtis is policy counsel with Ohio Farm Bureau.
Ty Higgins [00:00:16] So tell me about this new entrant training program.
Leah Curtis [00:00:19] So this is a new set of training requirements that CDL holders, after Feb. 7, 2022, will have to comply with. It’s a number of new education and training requirements, as well as registration requirements for those who provide that training. Now this was actually added by Congress in law in 2012. And what we call the Map-21 bill, a very big transportation bill. It was finalized in 2016, but then it didn’t go into effect until this year. And that just allowed time for these education providers to update their information to get registered and then time for the industry to comply and get involved with it.
Ty Higgins [00:01:02] What does this mean? What was the impact for the farmer exemption to the CDL that we have now?
Leah Curtis [00:01:07] So it’s important to know that this largely does not affect farmers that are hauling their own things, their own crops, their own supplies. So our CDL exemption for farmers says that farmers that haul their own products or supplies are exempt from the CDL, so long as they do not operate for hire. So you’re doing it for yourself. We’re not doing it for somebody else and you’re within 150 miles of your farm. So if you are operating under that general farm CDL exemption that you have, that has been around for years, this new engine training program does not apply to anything that you’re doing.
Ty Higgins [00:01:41] What about the restricted CDL?
Leah Curtis [00:01:43] So we do have some people who are employed in farm industries that have what’s called the Restricted Farm Service CDL. It also does not apply to those people. So if you are in the grain hauling custom operator situation where you have that restricted CDL, this new entrant training is not going to apply to what you do either. You’re going to continue to operate the same way you have in getting that restricted CDL
Ty Higgins [00:02:09] And anyone who holds a CDL currently not subject to these requirements as well?
Leah Curtis [00:02:13] Yes. So note that it’s called the new entrant training program. It is for new CDL holders. So if you have a CDL, even a CDL learning permit prior to that Feb. 7, it does not apply until you are getting that CDL after Feb. 7. So if you already hold a CDL, unless you are trying to get a new endorsement or upgrade your CDL, at that point it would apply. But just keeping your same CDL, it should not apply to you.
Ty Higgins [00:02:42] And you and I are having this conversation because you’ve heard some rumors. So we’re squashing those, I guess you could say right now. What have you been hearing about this?
Leah Curtis [00:02:51] So I think any time there’s a change to anything that has to do with CDLs, we hear people start to say, Oh, they’re going to get rid of that farm CDL exemption. And while I am sure there are people out there that would like to get rid of the farm CDL exemption, certainly that is not happening. Please be assured that Farm Bureau, both at the state level and the federal level, we have extensive policy that supports keeping this exemption, even expanding the CDL exemption in some ways. And so we certainly would be on top of that. We would be making our members aware, we’d be working with our grassroots to really push back on any such proposal. So at this time, there is no changes. We want to make sure people understand that and please drive responsibly, but you don’t have to worry about this new entrant training program.
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