WASHINGTON — The Air Force is taking steps to turn government vehicle operator certifications into commercial driver’s licenses.
By creating a course to mirror the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators Commercial Driver’s License Test System model, the Air Force will enable examiners to certify government motor vehicle operators on commercial vehicle equivalents in accordance with federal motor vehicle safety regulations.
“This (will) ensure everyone is working off the same sheet of music,” said Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Karnes, the Air Force logistics vehicle operations superintendent. “Once the program is wholly accepted and recognized by each state’s DMV, the intent is to provide a one-for-one swap for a military license to obtain a CDL for the applicable vehicle, without taking the additional tests. This helps us transition veterans into the commercial sector as well.”
Seven installations have been selected to test and evaluate the new certification process: Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri; MacDill AFB, Florida; Seymour-Johnson AFB, North Carolina; Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia; and Yokota, Misawa and Kadena air bases in Japan.
“Pending getting our examiners through the required training, we are looking at 50 locations up and running by October 2017,” Karnes said.
The Airmen examiners will undergo a 40-hour AAMVA certification course to learn how to administer and score the exam, until an Air Force-run course is developed.
“This new program gives us a standardized method in deciding whether or not a member is actually competent enough to operate these vehicles on their own,” said Staff Sgt. Bradley Opfar, the NCO in charge of training validations and operations at Kadena AB, and a recent AAMVA course graduate. “I really feel like TVO offices are going to greatly benefit from receiving this training and implementing this program. I believe this training will be very beneficial for me [when I separate] because I have received the same type of training that commercial driving license examiners receive in order to certify civilians on commercial motor vehicles.”
Once test locations are identified and examiners are trained, Airmen may visit a vehicle control officer at certified installations to take the required CDL training.