Today, the FMCSA announced it has released a study of recommended regulatory changes that would offer returning military personnel and veterans an opportunity to be placed into civilian driving jobs.
The study was directed by Congress under MAP-21. The study analyzed training, testing and licensing similarities and differences between military and civilian CDL requirements. During the study, a number of federal and state differences were noted, though the study states that the differences won’t adversely impact safety.
“Our military men and women make tremendous sacrifices in service to our nation, and helping veterans transition to the civilian workforce when they come home is just one way to show our gratitude,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Today’s report builds on the work FMCSA has already accomplished on behalf of our veterans and outlines opportunities to help even more qualify for jobs based on the skills and training they receive in the armed forces.”
According to the FMCSA, “the opportunities outlined in the report require formal rulemaking action, which FMCSA will initiate this year.” The proposed changes include:
- Extending the period of time, from 90 days to one year, in which an active duty and recently separated veterans can take advantage of a Military Skills Test Waiver. The waiver, which FMCSA first implemented in 2011, allows states to waive CDL skills tests for service members with two years of safe driving experience with similar vehicles. Today, 46 states and Washington, D.C. offer the waiver, which has already provided almost 2,000 military personnel a quicker pathway to a job;
- Updating federal regulations to allow over 60,000 service members trained and employed in the operation of heavy vehicles, many of which are nearly identical to civilian commercial motor vehicles, to immediately qualify for a CDL while still on active duty; and
- 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 S. 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.”
The FMCSA says it plans to continue to explore other ways to “ease the transition from military occupations to jobs requiring CDL” by waiving the pre-employmeent drug screening requirements for newly discharged military members, because of their “recent participation in random drug testing programs ran by the military.”
A copy of the study is available here.