Image: U.S. Department of Transportation

Image: U.S. Department of Transportation

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a final rule on Oct. 12 that simplifies for current and former military personnel the process for obtaining a Commercial Learner’s Permit or Commercial Driver’s License.

The final rule (Docket No. FMCSA-2016-0051) extends the period of time for applying for a skills test waiver from 90 days to one year after leaving a military position requiring the operation of a CMV.

It also allows a state to accept applications from active-duty military personnel who are stationed in that state and to administer the written and skills tests for a CLP or CDL. 

FMCSA said that states choosing to accept such applications must use forms and procedures acceptable to the state of domicile of the military personnel (their state of permanent residence or “home” state), and must transmit the test results electronically to the state of domicile. Then the state of domicile may issue the CLP or CDL on the basis of those results. 

When FMCSA released its initial notice of this rulemaking back in March, it noted that it had issued a temporary exemption in 2014 that extended the skills-test waiver to one year, so the final rule makes that change 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 stated in its proposal. The agency also said it is has concluded that lengthening the waiver period permanently “would ease the transition of service members and veterans to civilian life.”

According to the agency, more than 10,000 separated military personnel have taken advantage of the skills-test waiver.