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June 9, 2017 9:50 AM, EDT

FMCSA Announces Pair of Proposals to Help the Military and Driver Shortage

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on June 9 announced two proposed rules, one that would allow states to issue a commercial learner’s permit for up to one year, and the other a waiver that would help ease the transition for members of the military to become commercial truck and bus drivers.

FMCSA called the two proposals “steps toward responding to a national shortage of qualified truck and bus drivers.”

“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 Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson said in a statement.

The so-called military licensing and state commercial driver license reciprocity 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.

The commercial learner permit proposal would allow states to issue a CDL learner’s permit with an expiration date of up to one year, replacing the current 180-day limitation.

FMCSA said the CDL proposal gives extra flexibility and would eliminate burdensome and costly paperwork requirements by the states.

It also 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 agency said.

The agency will accept public comment on the two proposals for 60 days after their publication in the Federal Register.