WHBL Radio reported that veterans and current military employees who have a military license to operate military commercial vehicles, may be able to use it to obtain a Wisconsin commercial driver license (CDL) without having to take the CDL knowledge and skills exams.
According to the November 30, 2102 story, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb said the department’s Division of Motor Vehicles worked to standardize the CDL application process to make it easier to consider military experience and skills.
Our Education Coordinator, John Rojas, observed that while it appears to be a thoughtful gesture to allow military heavy transport equipment experience to transfer over to a Commercial Drivers License Class A License without having to go through all the testing processes, this does not help veterans to transition easily to a job in the trucking industry and it could set them up for failure. John remarked,
CDL drivers are responsible to comply with many State and Federal Regulations when getting behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle on our roadways. It is very crucial that drivers be aware of their responsibilities such as Hours of Service, Vehicle Inspections and Driver Wellness. Drivers who are not knowledgable ofthe rules and regulations can quickly learn the hard way by receiving violations on their driving records and Carrier Safety Analysis (CSA) scores. Violations hurt a driver’s pocketbook and could ruin chances of retaining employment with a reputable carrier.
Another consideration is that the majority of military equipment has mostly automatic transmission. This is a huge problem when over-the-road carriers require CDL operators to know how to operate standard transmissions. Allowing military experience to bypass CDL testing procedures is not helping military personnel who might have four plus years experience driving an automatic vehicle because they simply do not meet the hiring requirements that the majority of carriers have in place. This is one of the reasons that the American Trucking Associations, Commercial Vehicle Training Association and Truckload Carriers Association are critical of the waiver concept.
There are currently many programs who assist retiring military personnel with tuition assistance for approved educational programs. In many cases, the cost for these programs and sometimes living expenses while in training are covered. It is my opinion that our retiring military men and women seeking a career in the transportation industry deserve to receive any job readiness programs that they wish to take to help their chances to be successful.