- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a final rule which will make it easier for military personnel to obtain commercial driver's licenses (CDL) and transition into civilian life, as reported by Fleet Owner.
- The time period to apply for a skills test waiver after leaving the military has been extended from 90 days to 1 year. According to the FMCSA, more than 10,000 former military personnel used the skills test waiver between May 2011 and February 2015.
- States may also accept applications from active personnel who are stationed within that state and can also administer the written and skills tests for a CDL or commercial learner's permit.
Making CDLs more accessible for veterans has been a priority of groups such as the National Waste & Recycling Association and is seen as a promising way to recruit more drivers in the waste industry. The FMCSA estimates this change could result in up to $7.7 million in net benefits over the next 10 years.
The American Trucking Associations estimates that as many as 890,000 new drivers may be needed within the next decade and every industry has been looking for ways to attract more talent. Studies have been done on improving the driver experience and what young people are looking for in jobs. One of the largest areas for growth is with women who currently make up about 5% of all truck drivers and still face many obstacles to getting behind the wheel.
In the short term this driver shortage is a major concern that can lead to missed collections and other issues. Though as recently noted by Antonis Mavropoulos, new president of the International Solid Waste Association, driverless trucks and drone-operated collection robots have the potential to change all of that in the not so distant future.