Honoring our veterans: New Iowa law waives CDL drive skills test for eligible military personnel
AMES, Iowa – June 25, 2012 – Military personnel have one less barrier to securing civilian employment in Iowa. If you have recent experience driving large trucks in the military, you may be eligible to obtain an Iowa commercial driver’s license (CDL) without taking the drive skills test normally required. New law takes effect July 1.
House File 2403, signed into law by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad on April 4, 2012, authorizes the Iowa Department of Transportation to waive the drive skills testing requirement for a CDL for Iowans who are on active duty in the military service or separated, honorably, from such service in the last 90 days, provided the applicant meets certain experience and safety requirements by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.
To be eligible for the waiver, an applicant must have legally operated, for at least two years immediately preceding application for a CDL, a vehicle representative of the commercial motor vehicle that the individual expects to operate as a civilian.
Civilian commercial motor vehicles requiring a CDL are generally large straight trucks with a manufacturer's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) over 26,000 lbs. and truck-trailer combinations where the combined GVWR is over 26,000 lbs. and the trailer itself has a GVWR over 10,000 lbs. Experience driving vehicles designed to carry more than 15 people, including the driver, may also count, except for a school bus endorsement.
Applicants must complete a Military CDL Skills Test Waiver form and certify they meet all the requirements for the waiver, as specified in 49 CFR 383.77 (relating to the substitute for driving skills tests). Forms will be available at any driver’s license station in Iowa.
In addition to completing the waiver form, an applicant must present:
- Evidence that he/she has operated a vehicle representative of a commercial motor vehicle. Acceptable evidence is: (One form of evidence is required.)
- A valid Military CDL (or a Military CDL that is not expired more than six months from date of application) that clearly defines the types of vehicles he/she is/was authorized to drive.
- A Verification of Military Experience and Training Document (VMET) that clearly defines the types of vehicles he/she is/was authorized to operate in the military; lists the GVWR of each vehicle; and states whether the vehicles were equipped with air brakes. [This form can be obtained by military personnel only by visiting www.dmdc.osd.mil.]
- Documentation that identifies the types of vehicles he/she operated (or is/were licensed to operate) in the military; lists the GVWR of each vehicle; and states whether the vehicles were equipped with air brakes. This documentation must be on military letterhead, signed by the applicant’s military supervisor, provost marshal, company commander, department head or officer in charge.
- His/her military service record. (One of the following forms is required.)
- DD Form 2 (Active Duty Uniformed Services ID Card), certifying he/she is a member of the active or reserve components of any branch or unit of the armed forces of the United States
- DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), certifying he/she is a veteran who received an honorable discharge from any branch or unit of the active or reserve components of the armed forces of the United States
To qualify for the waiver, an applicant must be an Iowa resident. In addition, the applicant must hold a valid Iowa driver’s license and submit an application to add a CDL endorsement; or apply for an Iowa driver’s license with a CDL endorsement.
The new law does not waive the written knowledge test required to obtain a CDL. Study material for the test and other information about the testing and application process is available at http://www.iowadot.gov/mvd//ods/dlmanual.htm# or any Iowa driver’s license station.
- Interested applicants with questions about the new law should call the motor vehicle information line: Statewide toll free 800-532-1121, from Des Moines 515-244-8725, TDD number 515-237-3192 (operators are available Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., except official state holidays).
Related Information for active-duty military personnel
- If you are on active duty with the U.S. armed forces and have a valid Iowa driver's license, you are not required to renew your license until you are discharged, regardless of your length of service.
- You must renew your driver’s license within six months of your discharge date by presenting your Iowa driver's license and DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
- This law also applies to the spouses of those on active duty, if the spouse does not reside in Iowa during the active-duty period. The extension period applicable to spouses may not exceed five years.