NASVHILLE, Tenn. -- The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved legislation on Wednesday to make it easier for experienced military truck drivers to receive a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Tennessee. Senate Bill 10, sponsored by Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville), waives the state’s CDL skills test requirement if a veteran provides proof of a military license for the class of vehicle in which they are seeking licensure, as long as their driving record shows no accidents or citations over the past two years.
“This is an opportunity for us to address the shortage of truck drivers in our state, while providing new job opportunities for veterans,” said Senator Green. “Every year, thousands of truck driver-trained soldiers get out of the military. The goal is to eliminate unnecessary barriers and recruit these veteran truck drivers to drive for Tennessee companies.”
Currently, an active duty soldier who drives a commercial weight truck in Tennessee is exempt from any additional license due to their specialized military training. However, after the soldier leaves the military, they must immediately take the CDL knowledge test and skills test in order to continue to drive a commercial vehicle of the same weight on state roads. Tennessee has three classes of gross weight for licensing commercial drivers.
“What we want to do is to try to decrease those hurdles. Taking the skills test out will hopefully recruit more of these veterans to come to Tennessee,” Green added.
The employment rate among veterans age 18 to 24 is approximately 33% for men and 39% for women. Tennessee is one of only eleven states that still require soldiers with experience, training and no accident history to take the skills test.
“This is a great bill and I appreciate you bringing it to the legislature,” said Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville). “There is a need for drivers and these veterans coming out of military service need a job. I am hopeful that this will help bring jobs to Tennessee, while helping our veterans eliminate barriers to employment.”
The bill is sponsored by Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) in the House of Representatives.