Veterans CDL Bill Makes Progress in Congress

S. 3624 has passed the Senate, and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a co-sponsor, asked the House to take it up quickly. It would allow states to issue CDLs to members of the armed forces whose temporary or permanent duty station is located in the states.

A bill is moving in Congress that is intended to help military veterans obtain commercial driver's licenses more easily. U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller IV said now that S. 3624 has passed the Senate, the House should take it up quickly.

The bill was passed by the Senate on Sept. 22 and referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on Sept. 25.

Rockefeller co-sponsors S. 3624, The Military Commercial Driver's License Act of 2012, which was introduced by Sen. Olympia Snowe. It would allow states to issue CDLs to members of the armed forces whose temporary or permanent duty station is located in the states.

"We have a chance to help members of our military put their training to good use after their service ends," said Rockefeller. "If they have received driving training in the military, certainly they are ready to drive here in the U.S. as commercial drivers. At the same time, our trucking industry is seeking more drivers to satisfy increasing demands, so this measure should help create new jobs. This is a win-win for our men and women in uniform and the American economy, and I am pleased the Senate acted on this bill."

Currently, a state may issue CDLs only to people who are legal residents in the state. Many military personnel receive their vehicle training in locations outside their home states, including at their duty stations, so current law makes it difficult for them to obtain a CDL before they leave military service, according to Rockfeller.

The American Trucking Associations reported Sept. 12 that the annualized turnover rate for large linehaul truckload fleets rose to 106 percent in the second quarter of 2012, the first time it exceeded 100 percent since the first quarter of 2008. ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said freight volumes are growing, and "that, coupled with continued pressure on fleets to improve their safety records as a result of regulatory oversight changes, is increasing competition among carriers for drivers with clean histories."

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