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FMCSA expands waiver program for military drivers

July 28, 2014

Qualified individuals nationwide now have up to a year to obtain a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration military skills test waiver instead of just 90 days, the agency announced July 25. The action is one of several that FMCSA announced as part of the Joining Forces Initiative to promote expanded employment and career development opportunities for veterans and military spouses.

The FMCSA military skills test waiver program grants state licensing agencies the authority to waive the skills test portion of the commercial driver’s license (CDL) application for active duty or recently separated veterans who have at least two years of safe driving experience operating a military truck or bus.

The longer eligibility period was one of several steps FMCSA announced in December that it would take to facilitate more veterans working as commercial truck and bus drivers. Other planned steps included allowing service members trained and employed in the operation of heavy vehicles similar to civilian motor vehicles to qualify immediately for CDLs 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.

In addition to the longer eligibility period, beginning with Virginia residents, returning military service personnel who hold a state-issued skill performance evaluation (SPE) certificate due to a limb impairment will automatically be recognized as equivalent to an FMCSA-issued SPE certificate and allowed to obtain an interstate CDL.  Other state licensing agencies are encouraged to establish comparable equivalency SPE programs, FMCSA said.

FMCSA also announced that in late June Alaska became the 50th state to participate in the military skills test waiver program, which began in 2011.

More than 6,000 current and former military personnel – including Reserves, National Guard, and U.S. Coast Guard service members – have taken advantage of FMCSA’s military skills test waiver program. For more information, including a standardized application form accepted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, click here.

About the Author

Avery Vise | Contributing editor

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