FMCSA estimates that more than 60,000 U.S. service members currently operate trucks, buses or other heavy equipment that is similar to units requiring a CDL for civilian operation. Shown here is a heavy equipment transporter from Fort Knox’s 233rd Transportation Company.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said Nov. 8 that it would change several regulations related to the commercial driver’s license program as soon as possible to make it easier for military veterans to obtain commercial driving jobs.
The announcement followed a study – also released Nov. 8 – that analyzed training, testing and licensing similarities and differences between military and civilian CDL requirements and identified ways to allow returning military personnel with training and experience in operating trucks, buses and heavy equipment to obtain state-issued CDLs more easily.
The proposed changes, which FMCSA said it would initiate this year, include:
- Giving active duty and recently separated veterans up to one year to take advantage of a military skills test waiver. The waiver, which FMCSA first implemented in 2011 and currently is good for just 90 days, allows states to waive CDL skills tests for service members with two years of safe driving experience with similar vehicles. Nearly 2,000 military personnel have taken advantage of the waiver, which is available now in 46 states and Washington, D.C.
- Allowing service members trained and employed in the operation of heavy vehicles similar to civilian motor vehicles to qualify immediately for CDLs while still on active duty. FMCSA estimates that this change currently would apply to more than 60,000 military personnel.
- Allowing a service member who is stationed in one state but licensed in another to obtain a CDL before being discharged.
“The demand for truck drivers will continue to rise in the coming years, so we are taking action to remove the obstacles that prevent military veterans from finding employment in the industry,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro. “The men and women who serve in uniform commit their lives to protecting our country -- in many cases by operating heavy vehicles -- and there are no better credentials for becoming a safe truck or bus driver.”
FMCSA said it would consider other changes to ease the transition from military occupations to jobs requiring CDLs, including waiving the requirements for pre-employment drug testing for recently discharged military personnel based on their recent participation in random drug testing programs run by the military.
For a copy of FMCSA’s report, click here.