NPGA director explains new entry-level driver training regulations

December 14, 2021 By    

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is implementing new entry-level driver training regulations on Feb. 7, 2022, for any individual seeking a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or hazardous materials endorsement (HME).

The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), working with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), has been prepping the industry for the training requirements. NPGA is taking on an administrative role – assisting propane marketers with the requirements, filing paperwork and submitting information to FMCSA – through its Administrative Compliance Service (ACE) program.

Headshot: Sarah Reboli, NPGA


LP Gas Editor-in-Chief Brian Richesson sat down with Sarah Reboli, senior director of regulatory affairs at NPGA, to learn more about the regulations. The interview has been edited for length.

LP Gas: Can you explain entry-level driver training as a general overview?

Reboli: This is a good opportunity to make a distinction. There are entry-level driver training regulations and then there’s the ACE program. The entry-level driver training regulations are a mandate from the U.S. Department of Transportation that came from congressional legislation. It requires minimum classroom and behind-the-wheel training provided by a registered training provider. It extends for new CDL applicants as well as people looking for three endorsements – hazmat, school bus and passenger. NPGA and PERC have partnered to develop the theory, or classroom training material, to satisfy that portion of the regulation for CDL applicants as well as for HME applicants, who have a theory and assessment requirement just as the CDL applicant has a theory and an assessment requirement.

LP Gas: Why does FMCSA feel like these requirements are necessary?

Reboli: Congress picked up minimum driver training requirements in MAP-21, which passed in 2012 on the feeling that there was an increasing amount of over-the-road traffic and a correlation between long-combination vehicles and incidents. In the absence of a nationwide minimum, a more controlling Congress felt like it was a simple ask. With it being a congressional mandate, DOT had to put out something. So, they worked through a negotiated rulemaking and a working group to develop the final regulation over about 2½ to three years.

LP Gas: What’s the message to propane marketers as it relates to this program?

Reboli: Unfortunately, the regulation is yet another hurdle that the industry is going to have to push through. The answer from NPGA is that we have adapted to create a full circle in our advocacy – from the congressional stage, in the regulatory process, advocating for the industry to reduce the requirements to those that are scientifically based … and now to providing a compliance answer. We hope that with ACE as the compliance answer NPGA can carry the burden of the administrative work and record-keeping, and allow marketers to focus on the hands-on training.

LP Gas: What role is NPGA playing in all of this? Can you expand on your role?

Reboli: NPGA’s role is to assist PERC in developing safety and training materials. That’s where we partner to create the theory curriculum for CDL and HME applicants. We have expanded NPGA to take on this assistance, this navigating the red tape. We know how to navigate the red tape through our advocacy, and now we will provide another answer to our members and outside the industry to navigate through this requirement. And based on the successes or lessons learned through this, this may open a door for NPGA to provide more compliance assistance to our members. … This is [also] a new opportunity for NPGA to assist nonmembers who may be part of the propane industry as well as anyone else in the over-the-road community. That said, we are prioritizing taking care of our members in the industry.

LP Gas: What impact will this have on the driver pool? Is this going to create additional challenges?

Reboli: There are two factors – the immediate factor is everyone who already has their CDL and HME is about to become a real hot commodity. While we focus here on new drivers and potential drivers, marketers should be cognizant that their current drivers are about to increase in value because a lot of folks are going to try to push complying with this off for as long as possible. That may create a really hot, competitive market for those drivers, who are already in short supply. My hope is that by providing our members with this tool we are [putting] them a step ahead of their competitors. … Our aspiration with this is you can provide it all in-house. … We can’t change the regulation. It’s not going anywhere. But we can help our members get over the hurdle faster than other industries.

For more information about the regulation, visit and search for “ACE” or contact Twana Aiken, NPGA’s regulatory affairs manager, at

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at or 216-706-3748.

1 Comment on "NPGA director explains new entry-level driver training regulations"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. David B Sodee says:

    I would hope this would increase the pay scale for those in the propane field to keep employees in the field as we are losing more and more to other fields of employment.