Vets get more time to get CDL without taking skills test

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | 7/9/2014

Veterans who drove commercial motor vehicles while in the service are being given a one-year free pass on the skills test after leaving the service, thanks to a move by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Previously veterans who drove big trucks in the service had only 90 days after leaving the service to take only the written portion of the CDL test and not have to take the skills portion.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles petitioned FMCSA to consider giving veterans more time than 90 days.

The state of Virginia has a “comprehensive” Troops-to-Trucks program that assists service members in obtaining a Virginia CDL and civilian employment in the trucking industry. Feedback from partners in the program identified the 90-day limit as an “obstacle.”

FMCSA reviewed Virginia’s petition and agreed to not require veterans take a CDL skills test for a full 12 months after leaving the service. To accomplish this, the agency published an exemption in the July 8 Federal Register. The notice exempts all states – not just Virginia – from the 90-day requirement for two years and allows vets up to 12 months to take only the written portion of the CDL test.

The notice of exemption does not indicate the agency’s intention of making this permanent through a rule change.

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