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FMCSA announces under-21 military CDL pilot program

Veterans, reservists with heavy-vehicle training and experience eligible to participate

Posted June 5, 2019

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is launching a three-year pilot program that will allow military veterans ages 18 to 20 with the U.S. military equivalent of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate trucks in interstate commerce.

FMCSA announced the program on Monday, June 3.

Drivers are eligible to participate in the pilot if they:

  • Have received heavy-vehicle driver training and experience while in the military,
  • Carry a designated military occupational specialty code or job rating approved for the pilot, and
  • Are hired by a participating motor carrier.

The program is designed to help veterans and reservists find jobs in the trucking industry. It also is another step in the process toward bringing younger faces into the industry. The FMCSA is currently seeking public comments on another potential pilot program that would open interstate trucking opportunities to all drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 regardless of military service.

Under federal law, truck drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to drive in interstate operations.

Through the military pilot program, FMCSA will compare the safety records of the study group’s participating drivers to records from a comparable group of drivers age 21 to 24 with CDLs and comparable training and experience driving commercial trucks.

The pilot program is part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

FMCSA hopes to include at least 200 drivers in the pilot. When individuals reach the age of 21, they must leave the study group and be replaced by new participants.

Entry-Level Driver Training Manual: Obtaining a CDL
J. J. Keller's Entry-Level Driver Training Manual: Obtaining a CDL teaches students the basics of safe driving techniques and complies with FMCSA's new entry-level driver training rule.


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