Today the FMCSA put forth two proposals intended to fight the “national shortage of qualified truck and bus drivers” by reducing costs and simplifying processes for obtaining a CDL.
FMCSA Introduces Two Rules To Decrease Costs And Paperwork For CDL Applicants, States
The first proposal is Military Licensing and State CDL Reciprocity. This would allow qualified active duty military personnel and veterans to skip the CDL knowledge test, which in turn reduces costs for both CDL applicants and state driver licensing agencies. Since 2012, the FMCSA has given the states the option to waive the CDL skills test, which the agency says has helped over 18,000 military personnel to obtain their CDL. The FMCSA says that this is one way for the agency to show its gratitude toward the men and women of the U.S. military.
The second proposal is a change to Commercial Learner’s Permit Validity. Per this proposal, a CDL Learner’s Permit would be valid for a year, an increase from the current maximum six month validity. The FMCSA says that this change will cut down on costly paperwork for state agencies and will also reduce hassle and cost caused by unnecessary re-testing for CDL applicants.
The FMCSA is seeking public comment on both to the proposed rules. The public comment period will remain open for 60 days following the official publication of the proposals in the Federal Register.
According to the FMCSA’s Daphne Jefferson, “Taken together, these two proposals will help ease the entry for thousands of qualified individuals into career opportunities as professional truck and bus drivers – a critical occupation facing an acute labor shortage in our country. We could eliminate unnecessary burdens to both the applicants and to the states, save time, reduce costs and, most importantly, ensure that states only issue commercial driver’s licenses to well-trained, highly qualified individuals.”
You can view both of the official Notices of Proposed Rule Making in the documents below.