Drivers

Trump Signs Bills to Help Veterans Become Drivers, Curb Human Trafficking

January 09, 2018

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A new law will make it easier for military vets to transition to civilian trucking jobs. Photo: U.S. Department of Transportation
A new law will make it easier for military vets to transition to civilian trucking jobs. Photo: U.S. Department of Transportation

President Donald Trump signed into law two bills that affect the trucking industry: the Jobs for Our Heroes Act, which helps veterans to become medically certified for commercial driving; and the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act, which bans drivers who are involved in human trafficking from commercially driving for life.

The Jobs for Our Heroes Act amends the FAST Act and would allow veterans to receive DOT medical certification from a wider variety of medical professionals employed by the Veterans Administration, improving access to certified examinations. It is a combination of two proposed bills approved by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in May 2017.

The expanded list of qualified examiners includes advanced practice nurses, doctors of chiropractic, doctors of medicine, doctors of osteopathy, physician assistants, or other medical professionals at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The bill would also allow veterans to use experience driving commercial-type vehicles in the Armed Forces to apply for an exemption from all or a portion of federal commercial motor vehicle driving test requirements.

The No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act directs the Department of Transportation to ban a driver who uses a commercial vehicle to commit a felony involving a severe form of human trafficking from operating a commercial vehicle for life.

To define a severe form of human trafficking, the bill uses the description from the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. That bill considers severe forms of trafficking to include sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person forced to perform the act is a minor under 18 years of age. It also includes in the definition human trafficking for forced or involuntary labor or services.

When the bill was introduced in July 2017 by Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the Owner-Operator Independent Operators Association voiced opposition to it, saying that it unfairly singles out truckers, even though trafficking occurs in many industries and professions.

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