Fleet Management

FMCSA: Two New Rules Would Help Ease Truck Driver Shortage

June 09, 2017

By David Cullen

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Photo: U.S. DOT
Photo: U.S. DOT

Two new rules that seek to streamline CDL licensing and cut its costs were proposed on June 9 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

“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,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson. 

“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," she continued.

The proposals were issued as Notices of Proposed Rulemakings, for which FMCSA is seeking public comment:

  • Military Licensing and State CDL Reciprocity. This proposed rule would allow State Driver Licensing Agencies to waive the CDL knowledge test for qualified veterans and active-duty military personnel, including National Guard and Reserves, seeking to obtain a civilian CDL.  This waiver would simplify processing and reduce costs for states and for qualified individuals. Since 2012, FMCSA said it has allowed states to waive the CDL skill test requirement for qualified veterans and active duty personnel.  The agency said that over 18,800 individuals have transitioned from military service into civilian jobs as commercial truck and bus drivers under the waiver opportunity.
  • Commercial Learner’s Permit Validity.  This proposed rule would allow states to issue a CDL learner’s permit with an expiration date of up to one year, replacing the current six-month limitation.  The agency said this “extra flexibility would eliminate burdensome and costly paperwork requirements by the states. “ It would also eliminate unnecessary re-testing and additional fees presently incurred by individuals who seek an additional 180-day renewal of their CDL learner’s permit.

The public comment period for both proposals will remain open for 60 days, following their formal publication in the Federal Register. 

“At the core of both proposals is safety of the motoring public,” said Jefferson.  “We will continue to demand that commercial truck and bus drivers, and their employers, adhere to the safety standards that exist to protect all drivers.”

She also noted that the military licensing proposal “would be one more way we can express our gratitude and assist those with a military CDL who wish to utilize their extensive training and experience operating heavy trucks and buses into careers as civilians.”


  1. 1. Steve [ June 12, 2017 @ 03:20AM ]

    What driver shortage ? I see drivers in truckstops sitting there all the time not doing anything because of the logbook rules squashed their momentum. These desk dicks screw everything up as they tell themselves how brilliant they are,

  2. 2. Jim [ June 12, 2017 @ 07:13AM ]

    How will this help when the insurance companies will not allow us to hire anybody with less than at least 2 years of driving experience?

  3. 3. Kurt [ June 12, 2017 @ 10:33AM ]

    Since drivers' wages have NOT kept up with the cost of living over the past 4 decades, while the industry has cried shortage, there obviously is NOT one. Please stop feeding us this fake news.

  4. 4. Scott [ June 12, 2017 @ 10:15PM ]

    I have heard about driver shortages for about 30yrs. There are plenty of drivers, just insurance companies want the ones that are blemish free. To high of CSA score, 1 ticket, you stop at a traffic light that is on a hill and a car pulls up behind you about 6in off your bumper and you roll back 7in while trying to let the clutch out and now you have a 'backing accident!' Anyone of those items on your record and you may not get hired.
    The 'artificial driver shortage' is insurance qualified drivers. Now with ELD coming to life, the drivers paycheck is affected even more. OTR drivers who are gone away from home for 1-2wks at a time, should be making a minimum of $60-$75k a year. More pay and you would get a better cross section of people trying to start a trucking career.

  5. 5. lee lenard [ June 13, 2017 @ 07:47PM ]

    The shortage of drivers required to work 12-14 hours per day for $30,000 - $35,000 per year. Yes the shortage does exist and the ever revolving turnover rate of drivers working a year and leaving the business to try and earn a living for their families. Kurt and Scott are well on target....it is totally "fake news" and journalist and trucking executives along with politicians need to state the complete facts.....we have destroyed the unions and now we cannot find qualified drivers willing to work for minimum wage!

  6. 6. Walter [ September 21, 2017 @ 02:22PM ]

    Government. Officials need to stop writing and making laws they have no clue about and start with talking to truck drivers before passing laws they no nothing about.


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