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Government Eases CDL Requirements for Veterans

As the trucking industry works to attract new drivers, federal and state legislation is making it easier for veterans and active-duty members of the military to obtain their commercial driver’s license (CDL) and become professional drivers.


In late October, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Military Commercial Driver’s License Act of 2012 into law, which allows states to issue a CDL to members of the armed forces in the state in which they are stationed, even if they are away from home.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires CDL applicants to be legal residents of the states where they apply, but the new law carves out an exemption for members of the military who are frequently stationed at bases outside of their home states.

In addition, a growing number of states are implementing their own initiatives.

Virginia is working to attract members of the military to the industry with its Troops to Trucks program. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has streamlined the CDL application process for veterans with truck driving experience who now only have to pass the written knowledge exam and can forgo the road skills test.

For military members without truck driving experience, the Virginia DMV is working with military installations to provide training, and has certified two military bases in the state as certified CDL third-party testers.

So far, 26 states have waived the driving portion of the CDL test for returning veterans and reservists who have driven heavy-duty vehicles during their military service. Nearly a dozen other states are working towards similar waivers.

American Trucking Associations President Bill Graves said in a statement, “Trucking already faces the beginnings of a driver shortage and, with increases in freight demand, as well as demographic changes, we will soon see demand for drivers increase rapidly. 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.”

Penske is on the current G.I. Jobs magazine Top 100 Military-Friendly Employers® list.

The company is currently hiring truck drivers. For additional information visit Penske’s careers page or follow the company on Twitter, @GoPenskeCareers. The company offers competitive wages and a wide range of benefits. Penske is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

By “Move Ahead” Staff