FMCSA issues rule to help vets become truck drivers

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Updated Oct 13, 2016

militaryMilitary personnel who drove commercial vehicles in the service looking to transition into the trucking industry will now have a full year to apply for a skills test waiver instead of just 90 days after they leave the service.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a Final Rule Oct. 12 that will be published in the Federal Register Thursday to loosen the regulations on military personnel attempting to obtain a learner’s permit or CDL.

Additionally, the rulemaking allows states to accept applications from active-duty military members that are stationed in that state, as well as administer learner’s and CDL written and skills tests, then transmit the results electronically to the applicant’s home state for the license to be issued, if that state wishes.

The rule will go into effect 60 days after it’s published Thursday.

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), passed in 2012, required FMCSA to perform a study that assessed federal and state regulatory, economic and administrative challenges faced by members and former members of the military who operated commercial vehicles while in service in obtaining a commercial license.

Additionally, the FAST Act, passed in December, requires FMCSA to (1) exempt certain ex-military from the CDL skills test if they had CMV driving experience in the military, (2) extend the skills test waiver to one year and (3) credit the CMV training military drivers receive in the military toward applicable CDL training and knowledge requirements. This rule would take care of the first two of the three requirements. FMCSA has said the third requirement will need additional rulemaking.

FMCSA also recently proposed a pilot program that will allow some under-21 truckers to operate across state lines, so long as they have military experience driving large vehicles.