FMSCA Proposes Two Options to Address the Driver Shortage
The transportation industry provides millions of people an income each year. According to Driver Solutions, truck driving is the most popular job in 29 states. Yet, this industry remains one of the most forgotten about.
Truck drivers are running more miles and hauling more freight than ever before, in part because of a driver shortage. It’s been a growing issue in the industry for years, and much of it can be attributed to an aging workforce. The average age of a truck driver is 49, and many of them are now retiring. This, combined with a lack of qualified drivers and industry turnover, in general, has some projections showing a need for 100,000 drivers heading into in 2017, according to Driver Solutions.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on June 9 announced two proposed rules, one that would allow states to issue a commercial learner’s permit for up to one year, and the other a waiver that would help ease the transition for members of the military to become commercial truck and bus drivers. FMCSA called the two proposals “steps toward responding to a national shortage of qualified truck and bus drivers.”
Military Licensing and State CDL Reciprocity: This proposed rule would allow State Driver Licensing Agencies to waive the CDL knowledge test for qualified veterans and active duty personnel, including National Guard and Reserves, seeking to obtain a civilian CDL. This waiver would simplify processing and reduce costs for States and for qualified individuals. Since 2012, FMCSA has allowed States to waive the CDL skill test requirement for qualified veterans and active duty personnel. More than 18,800 individuals have transitioned from their military service into the U.S. civilian jobs as commercial truck and bus drivers under the waiver opportunity.
Commercial Learner’s Permit Validity: This proposed rule would allow States to issue a CDL learner’s permit with an expiration date of up to one year, replacing the current six-month limitation. This extra flexibility would eliminate burdensome and costly paperwork requirements by the States. It would also eliminate unnecessary re-testing and additional fees presently incurred by individuals who seek an additional 180-day renewal of their CDL learner’s permit.
“Taken together, these two proposals will help ease the entry for thousands of qualified individuals into career opportunities as professional truck and bus drivers – a critical occupation facing an acute labor shortage in our country,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson. We could eliminate unnecessary burdens to both the applicants and to the states, save time, reduce costs and, most importantly, ensure that states only issue commercial driver’s licenses to well-trained, highly qualified individuals.”
The agency will accept public comment on the two proposals for 60 days after their publication in the Federal Register.
We will continue to follow and report status updates regarding the FMCSA proposals as well as the ultimate outcome. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us at (717) 626-1107 ext. 3.