Legislation could soon ease the process for former military troops to obtain their commercial driver's licenses when they leave the service and are back home looking for work as commercial drivers.
Military vets with driving experience would have an easier time getting a CDL under a proposed bill.
The bill, which passed the Senate during its legislative wrap-up, builds on efforts from earlier in the year to help service members obtain their CDLs. The Military Commercial Driver's License Act of 2012 (S. 2634) now awaits action in the House of Representatives.
Under current law, states are only able to issue CDLs to persons who are legal residents in the state. Since many military personnel often receive their vehicle training in locations other than their homes of record, including their duty stations, the current law makes it difficult for them to obtain a CDL before leaving military service. The bill would create an exception allowing states to test and issue commercial driver's licenses to service members who are domiciled in another state.
The lead sponsor of the bill was Sen. Olympia Snowe, D-ME. One of the 10 cosponsors was John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, D-WV, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Rockefeller asked the House to take up the measure as soon as possible.
The American Trucking Associations supports the bill.
"Veterans need jobs, and the trucking industry needs drivers," said Mary Phillips, senior vice president for legislative affairs, in a letter sent to all Senate offices. "The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment growth of 13% for heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers over the ten-year period from 2008-2018. The increase translates to 233,00 net new jobs over the period, and closer to 350,000+ total truck driving jobs when turnover is taken into account."
Snowe said that "it is unacceptable that so many veterans, especially those recently returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have found themselves unable to successfully enter civilian professions for which they have already received world-class training."
Other cosponsors were:
Begich, Mark [D-AK]
Brown, Scott [R-MA]
Brown, Sherrod [D-OH]
Inhofe, James "Jim" [R-OK]
Isakson, John "Johnny" [R-GA]
Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN]
Moran, Jerry [R-KS]
Murray, Patty [D-WA]
Rockefeller, John "Jay" [D-WV]
Rubio, Marco [R-FL]