FMCSA making rule changes to ease military transition to truck driving

| November 08, 2013

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in light of an in-house study says it wants to implement some regulation changes to help former military personnel U.S. veterans more easily transition to civilian truck driving jobs. The agency says it plans to implement the changes “as soon as possible.” 


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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has allotted $1 million in grant money to help train veterans for jobs in the transportation industry, it announced ...

The changes include: 

*Allowing active duty and recently separated veterans to have up to one year — as opposed to the current 90 days — to take advantage of the Military Skills Test Waiver, which allows states to waive CDL skills tests for service members with two years of safe driving experience with similar vehicles. Right now, 46 states offer the waiver, and almost 2,000 veterans have been able to use the waiver. 

*Allowing active-duty military personnel with training and employment in heavy vehicle operation to immediately qualify for a CDL. The 60,000 service members that currently qualify operate vehicles that are nearly identical to civilian trucks, FMCSA says. 

*Allowing service members stationed in one state but licensed in another to obtain a CDL before being discharged. 

FMCSA’s study was required by the MAP-21 highway funding law that went into effect last summer. The agency said it analyzed training, testing and licensing similarities between military and civilian CDL requirements. 

“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.”

Click here to see a copy of the study.

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  • Thompson Pass Trucker

    As a Class A truck driving instructor who has had a number of ’88Mike’ students (I’d estimate 20 or more – I just graduated two last week) I protest. Many, if not most of the 88Mikes, were not competent or capable Class A Manual drivers, especially when considering these facts about most: 1) Most military trucks are now automatics; they don’t know how to drive standards, and; 2) many of the 88Mikes have most of their driving experience in convoys – at 35-45 miles an hour, following another vehicle, under supervision and close control, and; 3) again with trips and planning, most have traveled in mostly ‘good’ driving circumstances – if conditions are that bad they usually didn’t go, and; 4) most are not competent at backing because they rarely dock. Most ‘circle-up’ the vehicles when they stop, convoys drive forward until they stop, and many unload without docking. No doubt there are a few (I’ve seen some) who can actually drive well enough to pass a comprehensive CMV driving test – but not most.
    As prior military myself I believe that service veterans should get every break and accommodation possible for their time, effort, skills and service. However, unless the license is restricted to the vehicle-and-type (automatic restriction, Class B, or other realistic comparison to their actual experience) it’s not right.
    It’s simple enough for most ‘experienced’ drivers to take the written tests and driving test and qualify. Use the ‘transfer of experience’ toward job qualification.

  • crazy Dave

    AMEN brother!

  • John

    I agree. And a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to all of our service members. Though I have no military experience, I did have farm experience. I still had to go to school, but only 10 days, to qualify to drive a tractor trailer. Giving some of these people a license to drive a big rig, if not qualified, is like requesting that more 18-20 year olds be allowed to drive semi’s.

  • Brandy

    Agreed Thompson Pass, however, for many it will be a non issue as insurance companies are now setting the required experience not the FMSCA. They are overlapping and far reaching.

  • PattyCakes

    … ” …. to help former military personnel U.S. veterans more easily transition to civilian truck driving jobs. …. ”

    Wow, I didn’t realize they despised our Servicemen that much.
    I tell ANYONE I encounter, including Vets, do yourself a favor, flip burgers at McD’s or BK, it pays better and you don’t have Truck Nazi’s in your wallet, heisting whatever they can.

  • David Johnson

    I Agree. Retest and Requalify without cost to the vet.

  • Tim

    I think they should get their CDLs, but put them with a trainer. When I first got my CDL, I wasn’t a truck driver yet. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.