Eligible military veterans seeking a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Michigan no longer are required to take the driving skills test under a new law that adds to a growing list of employment benefits for veterans in the state. 

Under the “Even Exchange” law, the Michigan Secretary of State can waive the driving test for veterans who have the requisite experience through specific Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) in the past year. In essence, this applies to those veterans who were trained to drive military fifth-wheel truck tractors and semitrailers, “pintle hook” truck-trailer combinations and single vehicles with a gross combined weight rating 26,001 or more pounds. 

Michigan already waives the knowledge skills portion of the CDL for these eligible veterans. By now waiving the driving skills test, Michigan becomes one of fewer than 20 states to waive both tests for eligible veterans, according to the latest available data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. 

There are some 257,000 CDL holders in Michigan, yet a shortage of long-haul truckers, bus drivers and other commercial operators continues across the state and nation. The American Trucking Association estimated the nationwide truck driver shortage hit a historic high of 80,000 drivers in 2021 and will rise to more than 160,000 drivers in 2030. The Biden administration is also spearheading a push to encourage more veterans to pursue a career in the trucking industry.   

By making it easier for veterans to get their CDLs in Michigan, the new law can help fill the gap for commercial drivers and bolster veteran employment with good-paying jobs, said MVAA Director Zaneta Adams. Veterans can access the Michigan Application for Military Waiver Even Exchange or call the MVAA at 1-800-MICH-VET (1-800-642-4838) for more information. 

The CDL waiver is latest move to benefit veterans and their families. Among the benefits supported by the MVAA, Michigan recently expanded its veterans’ preference program for state employment, removed professional licensing barriers for veterans, and bolstered a veteran entrepreneurship program housed at Grand Valley State University. 

Read more at michigan.gov/MVAA.