The hot topics in trucking right now are the driver shortage and trucking automation. While trucking automation may be a potential solution to the driver shortage years from now, there needs to be efforts today to ease the driver shortage. As many of current truckers are nearing retirement age the industry faces the challenge of replacing them. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has put forth two new rules that will help ease this transition.
These rules are geared towards any age group that is looking for a career as a CDL driver. It’s never too late to make a career change and truck driving is something you can do at any age, in your twenties or fifties! These two new rules are attempts to make it easier for individuals to get their CDL while still ensuring they are qualified and ready for the job.
Military Licensing and State CDL Reciprocity
Who better suited to transition into CDL trucking than military personnel who have been driving these types of vehicles for years already? This new rule would waive the CDL knowledge test for veterans or active-duty personnel with relevant driving experience. According to the FMCSA “18,800 individuals have transitioned from military service into civilian jobs as commercial truck and bus drivers under the waiver opportunity.” The FMCSA, since 2012, has allowed states to waive the CDL skills test for qualified veterans and active-duty individuals. This new rule will make it so these individuals can bypass the knowledge and skills tests. This will save time and money for both the individual and the state. You can read the full proposal here.
Commercial Learner’s Permit Validity
Right now, commercial learner’s permits are issued for 6-months terms with the option to renew for another 6 months. This new rule would allow states to issue permits for up to one year. This new rule would eliminate additional fees and re-testing. Many companies require a full year of CDL driving experience to be placed on a job. Here at Spec Personnel, for CDL A drivers, we require at least 1-year experience to be placed with one of our clients. Again, this is a time and money saver for both states and new drivers alike. You can read the full proposal here.
Safety For All
Overall both of these new rules are a benefit to drivers and the general public. Safety is always of the utmost importance. Military personnel driving CDL level vehicles already have this experience, so making it easier for them transition to civilian driving is logical. Only a 6-month learner’s permit does not seem sufficient time for an individual to really become comfortable with CDL trucks. A full year to learn everything will improve driver confidence and safety on the road.
Hopefully these two new rules will help to ease the immediate driver shortage, as well as, when more drivers retire in upcoming years.