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Final rule from FMCSA aimed at helping military vets become CMV drivers

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Washington – Military veterans who operated commercial motor vehicles during their service will have an easier time obtaining learner’s permits and driver’s licenses to become CMV operators as civilians, thanks to a recently published final rule intended to simplify the process.

Currently, former service members must apply for a skills test waiver to drive a CMV no more than 90 days after leaving their military position. More than 10,100 formerly active military personnel took advantage of the skills test waiver between May 2011 and February 2015, according to the agency.

The new rule will extend that time frame to one year. In addition, the new rule will allow states to administer written and skills tests for a commercial learner’s permit or commercial driver’s licenses to active personnel who are stationed in that state even if they are not full-time residents.

According to FMCSA, any state that chooses to accept such an application will have to use the forms and procedures of the applicant’s home state. Test results must be transmitted to the applicant’s home state, which may then issue the permit or license based on the results.

The final rule references the agency’s November 2013 report, Program to Assist Veterans to Acquire Commercial Driver’s Licenses. FMCSA concluded that lengthening the skills test waiver period “would ease the transition of service members and veterans to civilian life with no impact to safety.”

“FMCSA believes the need to improve employment opportunities for military personnel returning to civilian life justifies the publication of this rule,” the agency stated in the Federal Register.

The rule is scheduled to go into effect Dec. 12.

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