Iowa Removes CDL Skills Test For Military Personnel
Iowa has passed a new law that makes it easy for military personnel to land commercial truck driving jobs. The new law facilitates the transition between military and civilian Commercial Driver's License (CDL).
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad recently signed House File 2403 into law. The bill gives the Iowa Department of Transportation the authority to waive the CDL skills test for drivers that are on active military duty, separated honorably or discharged in the past 90 days. There is a condition, and applicants still need to meet safety and experience requirements. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a number of regulations in effect that trump state law, but the new bill makes it easy for veterans to land truck driving jobs in the state.
Applicants need to have legally operated a vehicle that is commensurate to a civilian commercial vehicle for at least two years prior to the application admission. The bill is designed to provide trucking companies with access to a host of experienced drivers and make it easy for veterans to land a rewarding career. The military has a huge transportation sector, and commercial trucking skills are required to move goods between bases around the world. Now, veterans can use their military trucking skills to get a Iowa CDL.
Civilian commercial motor vehicle operators need a CDL to drive trucks that have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,000 pounds and more. In addition, trailer and truck combinations that have a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds require a CDL to operate. Single trailers that have a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds also require a CDL for legal operations. Passenger vehicles that carry more than 15 people also need to be operated by a CDL holder. Bus drivers have an exception to the passenger vehicle requirements and have a special license.
To land trucking jobs in the state, applicants must fill out a skills test waiver and certify that the necessary requirements are met. The forms are readily available at Iowa trucking companies and state driver’s license stations.
Applicants need to present proof of the kinds of trucks that were operated in addition to the form.
Only one form of acceptable evidence is required, and drivers can use any of the following documents.
- A valid military CDL
- A military CDL that is not expired for more than six months as of the application date
- A military verification, experience and training document. These are readily available from the military and list the vehicles that a soldier is licensed to drive.
In addition to the documentation, applicants will need papers that identify the vehicles that were operated in the military. The papers need to clearly state the GVWR of each vehicle. The use of air brakes should also be identified on the document.
Applicants must be Iowa residents and have a military service record handy. The new law does not waive the written exam; it only covers the skills portion of the test. Study material is readily available to assist with the written test.