Military veterans hoping to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) can attend one of C.R. England’s truck driving schools in Utah, Texas, Indiana, Georgia, or California. However, veterans with verified experience driving military vehicles equal to the federal government’s definition of a CMV (commercial motor vehicle) do not have to. They can leverage their experience to earn a CDL without having to take the skills test normally taken at the completion of formal training.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted new rules in 2014 to make it easier for military veterans with the appropriate driving experience to get CDLs without having to undergo the expense and time commitment of attending CDL school. The new rules gave individual states the authority to waive the skills test required for properly qualified veterans. All 50 states and the District of Columbia now have some form of waiver in place.
It should be noted that the federal waiver does not apply to the written portion of the CDL exam. Most states still require military veterans to take and pass a written test, though Illinois recently became one of the first states to grant a waiver for that portion of the test as well.
Applying for the Exemption
Military veterans whose service and experience exempt them from having to take the CDL skills test can apply for the exemption using either the federal form or a separate form created by their individual states. Completed forms must be submitted to the appropriate state agency that oversees CDLs.
The rules are pretty basic:
- Veterans must apply for a license within one year of appropriate military service.
- Veterans must demonstrate a history of safe driving.
- A veteran may not have had his or her state driver’s license suspended, revoked, or canceled in the past.
- A veteran may not have any convictions for any offense that would otherwise disqualify CDL possession.
Some of the states may include additional qualifiers in order to be eligible for the exemption. It is best for vets to check with their own states before applying.
Apply and Get to Work
Here at C.R. England, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of the federal and state waiver programs. By offering an exemption to the CDL skills test, regulators are giving former military the opportunity to get their CDLs and get right to work immediately upon leaving military service. Within weeks, a veteran can be earning a good living embarking on a long and rewarding career as a truck driver.
We encourage former military and those planning on discharge in the near future to look into the CDL skills test waiver. Professional truck driving is a way to use the very important training vets received while in the service to build a lifelong career that contributes significantly to the strength of the U.S. economy.
Bear in mind that more than 70% of all the consumer goods purchased in the United States are transported, at least in part, on a tractor-trailer. Without a healthy and robust trucking industry, our economy would not be nearly as strong as it is. Truck drivers are one of the most vital parts of a logistics system that keeps our economy rolling along.
If you are a former member of the military looking to get into professional truck driving, C.R. England wants to talk with you. We are one of the largest and oldest refrigerated trucking firms in America serving clients from coast to coast. C.R. England has openings for new and experienced drivers, CDL trainees, team drivers, and independent contractors.