The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced two proposals that would take steps toward responding to a national shortage of qualified truck and bus drivers. These proposed processes would simplify obtaining a commercial driver's license (CDL) for many individuals and reduce administrative expenses to both the driver applicant and state driver licensing agencies.
"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."
FMCSA is seeking public comment on the following two Notices of Proposed Rulemakings (NPRM) announced today:
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 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 has allowed States to waive the CDL skill test requirement for qualified veterans and active duty personnel. More than 18,800 individuals have transitioned from their military service into the U.S. civilian jobs as commercial truck and bus drivers under the waiver opportunity.
"We owe so much to our men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces," said Jefferson. "This action 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."
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. 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.
"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."
The public comment period for both proposals will remain open for 60 days following their formal publication in the Federal Register.
Source: Trucking News Online