- THE MAGAZINE
A new law allows states to issue commercial driver's licenses to military personnel living in the state, a move that could make it easier for service members to get jobs after leaving the military.
The Military Commercial Driver's License Act, which Congress passed Oct. 2 and President Barack Obama signed into law Monday, Oct. 22, changes federal law to allow states to waive a residency requirement for issuing commercial licenses to service members living in the state.
The relaxed federal law is limited to active and reserve members.
The law allows, but does not require, states to issue licenses to service members. However, the change will allow each branch to set up arrangements for quick commercial licenses to be issued to service members as soon as they complete training.
The American Legion, the nation's largest veterans' organization, and the commercial trucking industry, have endorsed the change. The Truckload Carriers Association, which supported the bill in Congress, estimates 200,000 long-haul trucking jobs are available today. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists commercial trucking as a high-demand job, with more than 300,000 additional positions expected by 2020.
Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., one of the sponsors of the initiative, said the change will help service members who have had frequent deployments and reassignments get a commercial driver's license in advance of their leaving the military, smoothing the transition to civilian life.