The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that its waiver program that helps experienced veterans and active duty personnel transition into civilian jobs as commercial truck and bus drivers has been expanded to all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
On June 27, 2014, Alaska became the 50th state to participate in the FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver Program. Begun in 2011, the Program grants state licensing agencies, including the District of Columbia, the authority to waive the skills test portion of the commercial driver’s license application for active duty or recently separated veterans who possess at least two years of safe driving experience operating a military truck or bus. Waiving the skills test expedites the civilian commercial drivers licensing application process and reduces expenses for qualified individuals and operating costs to state licensing agencies.
The effort is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces Initiative to promote expanded employment and career development opportunities for veterans and military spouses.
The announcement also includes two additional expansions of the program:
- First, the eligibility period for qualified individuals to obtain an FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver has been extended from 90 days to one year, nationwide.
- Second, commencing with Virginia residents, returning military service personnel who possess a state-issued Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) certificate due to a limb impairment will automatically be recognized as equivalent to an FMCSA-issued SPE certificate and allowed to obtain an interstate commercial driver’s license (CDL). FMCSA encourages other state licensing agencies to establish comparable equivalency SPE programs.
From 2010 to 2020, the need for heavy-vehicle drivers is expected to grow by more than 17 percent – faster than the national average for other occupations.
To date, more than 6,000 current and former military personnel – including Reserves, National Guard, and U.S. Coast Guard service members – have taken advantage of FMCSA’s Military Skills Test Waiver Program, which has been conducted in close cooperation with the Department of Transportation, Department of Defense and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).