On December 4, 2015 President Obama signed Public Law 114-94, better known as the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) act, or the the long-term highway funding bill. Buried deep into the law is a provision that may be of interest to many veterans seeking employment as truck drivers.
The new law can save veterans thousands of dollars of CDL training that may not be covered by the GI Bill if they have military experience driving similar commercial-type vehicles and want to get a civilian CDL. Also veterans can save the cost of the annual medical exam required for some commercial driving licenses if they visit VA medical facilities.
Section 5401 of the law contains a provision that exempts veterans from the driving test for a CDL license if that veteran had experience in the armed forces or reserve components driving vehicles similar to a commercial motor vehicle.
This exemption is good for one year after separation from active duty.
The law also directs states to credit military training and knowledge "for purposes of satisfying minimum standards for training and knowledge."
Currently, all 50 states offer skills test waivers to veterans who have been out of the military for 90 days or less.
More provisions of the law remove any state resident requirements for veterans who wish to get a CDL license, and allow VA doctors to perform any required CDL medical exams.
The law directs the Department of Transportation to enact these changes by the end of 2016, but expect some of them to be effective sooner.