Skip to main content

Licensing Waivers for Military Personnel

The trucking industry continues to see rising demand for freight capacity, leading motor carriers to seek out new ways to create and maintain a workforce of loyal, qualified drivers. Fortunately, there’s already a pool of highly trained candidates—military personnel.

Many positions in the U.S. military require the operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in a civilian context. And since drivers in these roles already spend extensive time completing practical skills tests, as well as classroom and on-the-road training, the FMCSA offers licensing waivers to help speed up their commercial driver’s license (CDL) application process.

Knowledge and Skills Tests

In order to obtain a CDL, applicants need to pass a general knowledge test to receive a commercial learner’s permit. Then, they need to pass a CDL skills test before they can operate commercially.

The FMCSA allows military personnel to request a waiver from the skills test if they can prove that they regularly operated a CMV in the past year. Additionally, a new rule went into effect in November 2018 that gives state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) the option to waive the general knowledge test, as well as certain CDL endorsement tests.

As a part of the new rule to waive knowledge tests, the FMCSA stated that military experience could only apply to the following CDL endorsement tests:

  • P (passenger carriers)
  • N (tank vehicles)
  • H (hazardous materials)

All aspects of these waivers are optional, and SDLAs can ask military personnel to complete any part of the regular CDL application process. However, the waivers can still help military personnel quickly transition into an industry in need of employees.

Onboarding New Drivers

Even the most experienced try personnel will need help when transitioning to the civilian workforce. Contact us at 716-688-8888 to request our Commercial Driver Hiring and Onboarding Toolkit and other resources to help your business both on and off the road.