FMCSA Issues Final Ruling on Military Personnel and CDL Licenses

military-truckIn an effort to ease the transition from military to civilian life, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) amended existing regulations for obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The amendment drastically increases the amount of time military veterans can apply for a skill test waiver.

Before the amendment, individuals leaving their military position only had 90 days to apply for the waiver to receive their commercial learner’s permit (CLP) or CDL. The amendment increases this period up to one year after leaving the service.

This ruling also allows states to administer the necessary tests for a CLP or CDL. This includes administering tests for active duty members as well. However, the ruling requires these states to use tests and forms that are acceptable to the military member’s State of domicile. The testing state must then transfer the test results to the State of domicile. The service member’s home state will then issue the CLP or CDL based on the test results.

This is part of FMCSA’s ongoing efforts to simplify the integration of military veterans into the transportation industry. As part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) act, the FMCSA is also planning a three-year pilot program for young veterans. This program would allow a select amount of military veterans between the ages of 18 and 21 to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). This only applies to veterans with training in operating heavy vehicles.

These changes carry significant implications for military veterans. Extending the waiver period will reduce the stress of transitioning to civilian life. It will also help fill labor gaps within the transportation industry with skilled drivers. Granting veterans under the age of 21 a CLP or CDL is significant as well. Current regulations require individuals to be 21 years of age at minimum to receive a CDL. Without this pilot program, many young veterans interested in the transportation industry would have to contend with a career gap.

These changes do pose certain challenges for fleet managers. For example, handling the added paperwork of matching other states’ testing parameters can be confusing. To remain compliant with the latest federal regulations, contact the experts at Three Points Insurance.