FMCSA seeks to ease regulatory burden for veterans to obtain CDLs

| 11/11/2013

As thousands of soldiers return to civilian life, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking to ease the regulatory burden for experienced military truck and bus drivers to obtain their commercial driver’s licenses.

In a study released on Friday, Nov. 8, the FMCSA outlined its plan to help returning veterans, who already have trucking experience in the military, obtain their CDLs through proposed regulatory changes.

“Our military men and women make tremendous sacrifices in service to our nation, and helping veterans transition to the civilian work force when they come home is just one way to show our gratitude,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said in a statement about the FMCSA study.

Congress mandated the study as part of the new highway law – Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) – a year ago to analyze “training, testing and licensing similarities and differences between military and civilian commercial driver’s license requirements.”

Some of the proposed regulatory changes included in the FMCSA study would require a formal rulemaking process. The proposed changes include the following:

“Extending the period of time, from 90 days to one year, in which active duty and recently separated veterans can take advantage of a Military Skills Test Waiver. The waiver, which FMCSA first implemented in 2011, allows states to waive CDL skills tests for service members with two years of safe driving experience with similar vehicles.”

This waiver is currently offered in 46 states, plus Washington, D.C. According to the FMCSA release, the waiver has “already provided almost 2,000 military personnel a quicker pathway to a job.”

Other proposed changes would allow more than 60,000 service members who currently drive similar commercial vehicles while on active duty to immediately qualify for a CDL. The study also proposes to allow service members stationed in one state, but licensed in another, to obtain a CDL before being discharged from military service.