Bill to speed up military, veteran CDL applications advances through Senate

A bill designed to streamline the application process for active-duty military, reservists and veterans alike interested in Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) has now advanced through the Senate.

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The Jobs for Our Heroes Act, introduced by U.S. Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), was motivated by the latest surface transportation reauthorization bill, which directed the Secretary of Transportation to create a modern set of standards for veterans’ CDL applications. However, that bill made no provision for active duty military or reservists–an oversight the new act seeks to correct on a permanent basis.

“Our service members already face obstacles when looking to enter the civilian workforce, and it’s important we make it easier to apply their unique training and skills to employment in certain fields,” Cornyn said. “This legislation would help streamline application requirements that are similar to those they already passed during their time in the military.”

As with its forebear, viable candidates are exempted from all or a portion of civilian CDL tests if they have had experience driving similar vehicles for their work in the armed forces. Likewise, formal military training is credited toward the minimum requirements of obtaining a CDL.

“Veterans who have the training and experience to operate heavy trucks and buses under tough conditions in the military have the skills needed to drive trucks on our highways,” Warren said. “By removing legal obstacles delaying service members from getting commercial drivers’ licenses, this bipartisan bill will help veterans looking for good jobs and will help employers looking for talented employees.”

In addition to training requirement provisions, the bill makes it easier for veterans to receive a DOT-required health examination demanded of all CDL holders. VA physicians would be recognized by the National Registry for Certified Medical Examiners, meaning they can, in turn, provide the examinations for veterans.

The bill now heads to the House floor for further consideration.