Bill easing commercial driver's license requirements for veterans becomes law

By DREW BROOKS | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. | Published: January 13, 2018

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — Legislation that eases requirements on service members seeking commercial driver's licenses was signed into law last week.

Originally introduced by Sens. John Cornyn, Elizabeth Warren and Thom Tillis, the legislation passed the Senate last fall. It is designed to streamline processes and ease burdens for active-duty military, Reservists and veterans who apply for the licenses, according to Tillis.

"The brave men and women that serve in the U.S. military learn a wide-range of skills applicable to jobs once they enter the civilian workforce, but too often face unnecessary barriers that makes it harder for them to find jobs," Tillis said after President Trump signed the legislation into law on Jan. 8. "This legislation will allow our active-duty military, reservists and veterans to apply the experience they gained serving our nation in a civilian capacity and not force them to go through a duplicative credentialing process to obtain a commercial driver's license."

Cornyn added that the bill shows veterans that leaders have their backs.

"Now that this bill has been signed into law, veterans will be able to more easily transfer the commercial driving skills they've honed in the military to civilian life, and therefore more easily find jobs that pair well with their skillset," he said.

The legislation was part of the Jobs for our Heroes Act of 2017, which adjusted standards first created as part of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, officials said.

That act created new standards that exempt veterans from all or a portion of civilian commercial vehicle driving tests if that veteran had experience driving similar vehicles while in the Army or reserves. It also allowed formal military training to count as credit toward the minimum requirements to obtain a license.

The new legislation made those standards permanent and extended them to currently serving troops. It also makes it easier for veterans to receive the Department of Transportation-required health examination to hold a commercial driver's license.


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