New law updates CDL requirements for PA veterans, service members
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) announced today that a new Pennsylvania law waives the requirement for Pennsylvania residents who are current and former military members and who operated a commercial vehicle as part of their duties, to take a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Knowledge Test when applying for a CDL. Previous legislation – Act 133 of 2008 – established a waiver of the CDL skills test for these individuals.
“We are pleased to announce this important change and hope that it helps military members in their transition to civilian life find good-paying, sustainable employment to begin their new lives,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian.
Act 131 of 2020 allows the PennDOT to waive the CDL Knowledge Test for Pennsylvania residents on active or reserve military duty or recently honorably discharged veterans, provided those service members have at least two years of experience operating a commercial motor vehicle as part of their military job requirements.
The waiver applies to CDL applicants who wish to operate vehicles similar to those they operated in the military. For example, those who drove combination type commercial (Class A) motor vehicles in the military will be eligible in Pennsylvania for a waiver to drive a combination type vehicle and those who drove a single motor vehicle of commercial type (Class B) in the military will be eligible in Pennsylvania for the waiver to drive that type of vehicle. Applicants must complete form DL-398, “Application for Military CDL Test Waiver,” to request the waiver.
Doubles, triples and school bus endorsements cannot be waived under this program. PennDOT will waive the knowledge test specified, subject to the limitations in the 49 Code of Federal Regulation Section 383.77, to an applicant who meets all the requirements for a waiver.
“Service members gain many valuable skills in the military that translate well into the civilian job sector,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler, Pennsylvania’s acting adjutant general and acting head of the DMVA. “This program is a huge opportunity to assist our veterans and service members with these skills to get good jobs as Pennsylvania is critically short in CDL drivers.”
Military personnel and veterans interested in taking advantage of the CDL skills and knowledge test waivers can find further information by visiting www.dmv.pa.gov, click on Driver Services and choose Military Personnel Veterans from the dropdown. Form DL-398 can be found under Forms and Publications on the homepage.