President Barack Obama Friday signed the Military Commercial Drivers' License Act of 2012, which will make it easier for veterans and service men and women to obtain Commercial Drivers' Licenses, making them more employable once they leave active-duty.
The law will enable an active duty service man or woman to go through the training and skill acquisition necessary to obtain a CDL while they are performing their duties in service to the United States. The fact that they may be serving in a state other than their home state will no longer be an obstacle.
Previously, states were 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 old law made it difficult for them to obtain a CDL before leaving military service. The law creates an exception allowing states to test and issue commercial driver's licenses to service members who are domiciled in another state.
It was one of those rare bills that everyone in the trucking industry seemed to agree on.
The Teamsters Union applauded the signing of the bill.
"With construction projects ramping up there is an increased need for safe, dependable truck drivers with CDLs," said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. "Through our work with the Teamsters Military Assistance Program and Helmets to Hardhats, we know that our active duty military and veterans are valued for their military training, making them sought-after candidates for freight and construction work."
In a statement when the bill passed Congress earlier this month, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves said, "As the economy continues to recover, it is becoming ever more challenging for trucking companies to find qualified drivers to move America's most essential goods," Graves said. "Veterans with experience driving trucks in the military are highly sought after."
"Making it easier for veterans to move into these jobs is a good thing for the military, for the veterans themselves and for our industry."
Other groups expressing their support included the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Military Officers Association of America.