The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking comments on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would make it even easier for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces to apply for commercial driver’s licenses.
The NPRM comes at a time when school districts, especially, are in dire need of qualified bus drivers.
Along with adding a new definition of “military services” to FMCSA’s Commercial Drivers License Standards, Requirements and Penalties, Part 383.5, the NPRM would make permanent one-year extension provided to former U.S. military to apply for a skills test waiver. The FMCSA issued the temporary one-year extension in July 2014. The current waiver allowed under federal law is 90 days.
The proposed rule would also allow states the option to accept applications and administer all necessary tests for a CDL or a commercial learner’s permit for active duty service members stationed in that state who are operating in a “Military Occupational Specialty” as full-time CMV drivers.
States that opt in would be required to transmit the application and test results electronically to the service member's state of domicile. The NPRM says that this would enable service members to complete their licensing requirements without incurring the time and expense of returning home.
The state of domicile would be required to issue the CDL or CPL in accordance with otherwise applicable procedures.
FMCSA implemented the Military Skills Test Waiver Program in 2012, which included a report a year later to Congress, as mandated by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. That report included six recommendations that became the basis of the NPRM that was published last month.
Public comments on docket number FMCSA-2016-0051 will be accepted online, U.S. mail or via hand delivery through May 16.