It’s estimated the trucking industry is short 150,000 drivers. The expense of a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License), combined with reduced first-year pay because of insurance prohibitions, are primary factors in this driver shortage. As well, 40% of new drivers don’t complete their first year, due to extended hours away from home, the frustrations of traffic and deadlines, and new HOS (Hours of Service) regulations. To help reduce the shortage, the president signed the Military Commercial Driver’s License Act into law on October 19th, 2012. The bill had previously passed both the House of Representatives and Senate. This bi-partisan initiative will not only benefit United States military veterans, but will impact the transportation industry.
Red Tape and its Stranglehold
CDL regulations previously required applicants to apply for a CDL in their state of residence. Thousands of qualified military personnel were prohibited from testing due to this regulation. If these experienced drivers wanted to pursue a CDL, they were required to pay for school in their home state. When licensed, they would be categorized as new drivers, with the insurance prohibitions of an inexperienced driver.
Streamlining The CDL Process
According to Transport Topics, “The (new) law permits states to issue a CDL to members of the armed forces in the state in which they are stationed, even if they are away from home. ‘This legislation aids our veterans in finding work after their military service by cutting red tape and streamlining the CDL process,’ said bill sponsor Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.)…”
The Dayton Daily News shared Latisha Flowers’ story: Ms. Flowers, a truck driver, and member of the Teamsters Local 957, was forced to spend $4,000 and take time off from work to get her CDL, because she was stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
“This bill would have been especially advantageous to myself (because I could have) been able to use my military training and experience to help obtain my CDL,” she said. “It would have streamlined the process for me, helping me obtain my license faster and cheaper.
A Unified Win For Everyone
TKO Graphix does not endorse a political party or express any affiliation. We do support bi-partisan efforts that help vets and the transportation industry. We applaud the spirit of cooperation from every member of the House of Representatives and the Senate, which made this legislation possible. We owe this type of consideration to our veterans, and the trucking industry can certainly use a few good men and women.