Photo: U.S. DOT

Photo: U.S. DOT

Two new rules that seek to streamline CDL licensing and cut its costs were proposed on June 9 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

“Taken together, these two proposals will help ease the entry for thousands of qualified individuals into career opportunities as professional truck and bus drivers – a critical occupation facing an acute labor shortage in our country,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson. 

“We could eliminate unnecessary burdens to both the applicants and to the states, save time, reduce costs and, most importantly, ensure that states only issue commercial driver’s licenses to well-trained, highly qualified individuals," she continued.

The proposals were issued as Notices of Proposed Rulemakings, for which FMCSA is seeking public comment:

  • Military Licensing and State CDL Reciprocity. This proposed rule would allow State Driver Licensing Agencies to waive the CDL knowledge test for qualified veterans and active-duty military personnel, including National Guard and Reserves, seeking to obtain a civilian CDL.  This waiver would simplify processing and reduce costs for states and for qualified individuals. Since 2012, FMCSA said it has allowed states to waive the CDL skill test requirement for qualified veterans and active duty personnel.  The agency said that over 18,800 individuals have transitioned from military service into civilian jobs as commercial truck and bus drivers under the waiver opportunity.
  • Commercial Learner’s Permit Validity.  This proposed rule would allow states to issue a CDL learner’s permit with an expiration date of up to one year, replacing the current six-month limitation.  The agency said this “extra flexibility would eliminate burdensome and costly paperwork requirements by the states. “ It would also eliminate unnecessary re-testing and additional fees presently incurred by individuals who seek an additional 180-day renewal of their CDL learner’s permit.

The public comment period for both proposals will remain open for 60 days, following their formal publication in the Federal Register. 

“At the core of both proposals is safety of the motoring public,” said Jefferson.  “We will continue to demand that commercial truck and bus drivers, and their employers, adhere to the safety standards that exist to protect all drivers.”

She also noted that the military licensing proposal “would be one more way we can express our gratitude and assist those with a military CDL who wish to utilize their extensive training and experience operating heavy trucks and buses into careers as civilians.”

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David Cullen

David Cullen

[Former] Business/Washington Contributing Editor

David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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