Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today announced that the President signed a bill into law that he cosponsored, which will improve and expedite the commercial driver's license (CDL) application process for Armed Forces members and veterans.
"Because of this new law, members of our military who already received driving training while they were in the service, will now be able to put that training to good use after their military duties are finished," said Rockefeller. "So many veterans and servicemembers have needed driving qualifications and it only makes sense that they should be able to get commercial driving jobs when they finish their service, particularly as the trucking industry is working to fill a void of drivers. Earlier this year, I held a Commerce Committee hearing in West Virginia, which pointed out that our state needs more drivers, particularly in light of the increase in natural gas development. This new law is great news for our military, for their families, and for our economy."
The bill eliminates a current-law hurdle that only allows veterans to obtain licenses in their home states of record. Since many military personnel retain home states of record that differ from where they are actually stationed, it can be difficult for them to apply training received at their military installations to obtain CDLs they can use for civilian jobs following their service -- a problem alleviated by this bill.
Under the new provision, the Department of Transportation Secretary would be required to review the issue and come up with a plan for implementing an easier CDL process for veterans.
Additionally, in September, the West Virginia National Guard, the state Department of Education and Department of Transportation announced its National Guard Commercial Driver's License Pilot which is designed to help military personnel with experience driving large trucks and other equipment get their commercial drivers' licenses in a more cost-effective manner and more quickly. The program will also help address a growing truck driver shortage in West Virginia.