FMCSA further eases regulations for military vets transitioning to trucking

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Updated Oct 27, 2016

States can now waive the general knowledge test for current or former military truck drivers looking to obtain their commercial learner’s permit or CDL.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued the two-year exemption that will go into effect Oct. 27 after the Missouri Department of Revenue requested the exemption earlier this year. The exemption effectively gives military truck drivers credit for their military training.

FMCSA says it granted the exemption because the training for these drivers in the military includes “many hours of classroom training, practical skills training and on-the-road training.” The agency adds the hours of training these drivers receive in the military is greater than the number of hours required in the agency’s proposed Entry-Level Driver Training rule.

The exemption allows state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) to choose whether or not to waive the knowledge test for qualified learner’s permit and CDL applicants. FMCSA is also allowing SDLAs to establish their own requirements and procedures of verifying the eligibility of the applicants.

In order to qualify for the exemption, FMCSA says applicants must be current or former military members, including National Guard and Reservists; have been regularly employed within the year before application in a military position the requires the operation of large trucks; and have received formal military training for that duty.

The exemption is another in a line of exemptions and rule proposals by FMCSA this year to help ease the transition of military personnel into civilian life and the trucking industry. In August, the agency proposed a pilot program for current and former military personnel under the age of 21 with military driving experience to drive in interstate commerce. FMCSA has also recently extended the waiver period from 90 days to a year for transitioning military to apply for a waiver from the CDL skills test.