The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants to make it easier for military veterans to transition into civilian careers in the truck and bus industry by simplifying the process of getting a Commercial Learner’s Permit or Commercial Driver’s License.

To that end, the agency will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Docket No. FMCSA-2016-0051) that calls for extending the time period for applying for a skills test waiver from 90 days to 1 year after leaving a military position that required the operation of a commercial motor vehicle.

The NPRM is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register for March 16

In its pre-publication notice of the NPRM, FMCSA stated that on July 8, 2014, the agency had issued a temporary exemption that extended the skills test waiver to 1 year, so “the change proposed by this rulemaking would make the 1-year waiver period permanent.”

“FMCSA believes that this would give former military personnel a better opportunity to obtain a CDL in a way that will not negatively affect safety,” the agency continued.

FMCSA noted that to date, more than 10,000 separated military personnel have taken advantage of the skills test waiver.

The agency added that is has concluded that lengthening the waiver period permanently “would ease the transition of service members and veterans to civilian life.”

The proposed rule also would allow a given State to accept applications and administer the written and skills tests for a CLP or CDL from active-duty military personnel who are operating in a Military Occupational Specialty as full-time CMV drivers and are stationed in that State.

States that choose to accept such permit and license applications would be required to transmit the test results electronically to the State of domicile of the military personnel. The State of domicile would be required to issue the CDL or CLP on the basis of those results.

“FMCSA believes this NPRM would simplify the task of obtaining a CDL without jeopardizing (1) any benefits associated with a service member’s official State of domicile, or (2) the single-domicile/single issuer concept that has been essential to the CDL program since the beginning,” the agency pointed out in its pre-publication notice.

“Additionally, it would reduce travel time and other costs associated with traveling to the State of domicile for testing," FMCSA continued. "The motor carrier industry would also benefit from a larger supply of licensed CMV drivers.”

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