US Transportation Secretary Elaine L Chao Chip SomodevillaGetty Images Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
US Transportation Secretary Elaine L Chao

USDOT pilot program will put military driver recruitment in fast lane

US Secretary of Transportation Elaine L Chao, joined Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer and US Rep Don Bacon to announce that the Department of Transportation will launch a pilot program to permit 18-20 year olds who possess the US military equivalent of a commercial driver license (CDL) to operate large trucks in interstate commerce.

“This program will allow our veterans and reservists to translate their extensive training into good-paying jobs operating commercial vehicles safely across the country, while also addressing the nationwide driver shortage,” said Chao.

As directed by Section 5404 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the pilot program will grant a limited number of individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 to operate large trucks in interstate commerce. This is provided they possess the military equivalent of a CDL and are sponsored by a participating trucking company.

“This innovative program offers a way for our younger veterans and reservists to transition to the civilian workforce,” said Bacon. “I personally thank Secretary Chao and officials with the DOT who continue to find ways to utilize the training and talent of the men and women who served in uniform for our country.”

During the pilot program, which is slated to run for three years, the safety records of these drivers will be compared with the records of a control group of drivers.

Information on the pilot program was scheduled to be released in the July 5 Federal Register. A copy is available on FMCSA’s website by clicking here.

Before the pilot program can officially commence, FMCSA is required by federal statute to allow a public comment period, followed by the agency’s published responses in the Federal Register.

For complete information on USDOT’s Veteran transitions programs into the civilian careers, visit

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