A new law in Iowa makes it easier for former military personnel to make the switch to a commercial driving career.
House File 2403, signed into law by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, authorizes the Iowa Department of Transportation to waive the drive skills testing requirement for a CDL for Iowans who are on active duty in the military service or separated, honorably, from such service in the past 90 days, provided the applicant meets certain experience and safety requirements by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.
To be eligible for the waiver, an applicant must have legally operated, for at least two years immediately preceding application for a CDL, a vehicle representative of the commercial motor vehicle that the individual expects to operate as a civilian.
Civilian commercial motor vehicles requiring a CDL are generally large straight trucks with a manufacturer's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating more than 26,000 pounds and truck-trailer combinations where the combined GVWR is more than 26,000 pounds and the trailer itself has a GVWR more than 10,000 pounds. Experience driving vehicles designed to carry more than 15 people, including the driver, may also count, except for a school bus endorsement.
Applicants must complete a Military CDL Skills Test Waiver form and certify they meet all the requirements for the waiver. Forms will be available at any driver's license station in Iowa.
In addition to completing the waiver form, an applicant must present evidence that he/she has operated a vehicle representative of a commercial motor vehicle. Acceptable evidence is: (One form of evidence is required.)
* A valid Military CDL (or a Military CDL that is not expired more than six months from date of application) that clearly defines the types of vehicles he/she is/was authorized to drive.
* A Verification of Military Experience and Training Document (VMET) that clearly defines the types of vehicles he/she is/was authorized to operate in the military; lists the GVWR of each vehicle; and states whether the vehicles were equipped with air brakes. [This form can be obtained by military personnel only by visiting www.dmdc.osd.mil.]
Also required is documentation that identifies the types of vehicles operated in the military; lists the GVWR of each vehicle; and states whether the vehicles were equipped with air brakes. This documentation must be on military letterhead, signed by the applicant's military supervisor, provost marshal, company commander, department head or officer in charge.
A military service record is also required.
To qualify for the waiver, an applicant must be an Iowa resident. In addition, the applicant must hold a valid Iowa driver's license and submit an application to add a CDL endorsement; or apply for an Iowa driver's license with a CDL endorsement.
The new law does not waive the written knowledge test required to obtain a CDL. Study material for the test and other information about the testing and application process is available