Commercial truck and bus industries are experiencing a shortage of professional drivers. In an effort to combat this issue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) proposed two new waivers on June 9th that will be published in the Federal Register in sixty days. Together, the waivers will help diminish entry barriers into these industries for qualified individuals, stimulating professional driving as a career path once more.
1. Military Licensing and State CDL Reciprocity
According to the FMCSA, the rule “would allow State Driver Licensing Agencies to waive the requirements for commercial driver’s license knowledge tests” for veterans and active-duty military personnel that were, or are, required to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) during their services.
Benefits: Reduced costs for the states due to the waiver of tests for those in compliance, an increase in efficiency in the hiring process resulting from diminished entry requirements, and a larger pool of potential professional drivers with prior professional driving experience, resulting in minimal additional training.
2. Commercial Learner’s Permit Validity
In this rule, the FMCSA “allows States to issue a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) with an expiration date of up to one year from the date of initial issuance.” As a result, this rule would replace the current CLP regulation containing a six-month expiration date.
Benefits: Significant decrease in paperwork, and elimination of re-testing for another CLP at the end of its six-month expiration date. This leads to the opening of more time that can be spent on the road by drivers, instead of time spent on testing.
Both of the proposed waivers pave the way for fleets to employ safe, qualified drivers.
With these two proposed waivers, the FMCSA anticipates success in these industries for years to come, putting an end to the labor shortage as we know it.