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What is the Under 21 Military CDL Pilot Program?

Under 21 Military CDL Pilot Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is also committed to making it as easy as possible for military veterans from all walks of life to get settled in a career as a professional truck driver.

To help them achieve this goal, the Under 21 Military CDL Pilot Program is one of the more recent ways the FMCSA is pursuing new ways to recruit and support military veterans in a truck driving capacity. But what is this pilot program, and how can it help younger truckers with military experience find a place in the transportation industry?

Who is Eligible for this Program?

The Under 21 Military CDL Pilot Program was primarily designed to study “the feasibility, benefits, and safety impacts of allowing 18-20-year-old drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce” (3). This military CDL pilot program grants exemption from the regular requirement for all commercial driver’s license holders to be 21 years of age and opens up a new wave of military CDL jobs for young truckers. 

To qualify for this pilot program, however, you’re going to have to meet a set of criteria. According to the FMCSA, the requirements include:

  • Being 18, 19, or 20 years of age when approved for participation in the pilot program
  • Having certification (or relevant training and experience) operating heavy vehicles from your time in the military
  • Agreeing to the release of specific information to the FMCSA, who will use it to assess your eligibility for the program
  • Meeting all the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR) requirements (not including age) for operating a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce
  • Understanding that drivers who participate in this program cannot transport passengers or hazardous materials 

Upon turning 21, any drivers participating in the Under 21 Military CDL Pilot Program will be unenrolled.  They will, however, be eligible to continue driving in an interstate capacity for their current motor carrier (or another company).

How to Participate in the Under 21 Military CDL Pilot Program

If you qualify for an Under 21 Military CDL, then you can get your trucking career started by applying to any participating carrier (like Lily Transportation!). Once hired, your information and driving history will be submitted to the FMCSA.

From there, as long as there are no disqualifying offenses, suspensions, or license revocations on your record, you’ll be approved to participate in the study and can start your trucking career right away!

With this program, the FMCSA is making veteran trucking jobs more accessible than ever. There are plenty of people under the age of 21 with experience in the military who are now looking for a new career, and the Under 21 Military CDL Pilot Program is a way for military drivers to find a job that will help them readjust to the civilian lifestyle.

Lily Transportation is proud to be one of the nine companies in the country participating in the military CDL pilot program and would love to talk with you about our veteran trucking jobs, training programs, or the truck driving lifestyle as a whole!  

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