I recently shared with you the enormous impact of the Port of Savannah on our state’s economy. The Port is the first stop for all manner of goods that move swiftly across our state — and the nation.
The Port is also the last stop for all kinds of goods produced in our state and other states and transported around the world. Georgia’s network of rails plays a large part in moving these goods efficiently, but we also rely heavily on our commercial truck drivers.
As I have spoken with commercial trucking companies across the state, from logging companies to container trucking companies, I consistently hear that they are looking for more drivers and having difficulty finding them.
These companies offer substantial bonuses and great benefits but face challenges attracting the employees they so desperately need. They are having difficulty attracting these drivers partially because many Georgians have no idea these jobs are available or are confused about what may be required!
One of the requirements to apply for most of these jobs is a commercial driver’s license (“CDL”).
Although it may seem intimidating, the commercial driver’s license process is relatively straightforward, and some companies may even be willing to assist in the process. To apply for a CDL in Georgia, you must first receive a commercial driver’s permit (“CDP”).
To qualify for a commercial driver’s permit, you must be at least eighteen years old. Applicants who are over eighteen but under twenty-one will only be permitted to drive within the state of Georgia (“intrastate”), but once they turn twenty-one, they can request to have the “Georgia Only” restriction removed.
To receive a CDP, you must have a valid regular Georgia driver’s license and pass a written test.
After receiving a CDP, a driver seeking a CDL must hold the CDP for fourteen days before applying for a CDL. While a driver holds a CDP, the driver cannot drive a commercial vehicle alone and must be accompanied by a driver with the necessary CDL to drive the commercial vehicle. CDL applicants will be required to pass an on-the-road examination and a written examination.
Some military service members may also qualify to apply for a CDL without taking the road test.
Active duty or military service members may qualify for the road test waiver if they meet two requirements. Firstly, they must have been honorably discharged within one year or less.
Secondly, they must have experience operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) of the same class and type, for at least two years immediately preceding their honorable discharge from the military.
If you are interested in applying for a CDP or CDL, visit the Georgia Department of Driver Services for additional information.
As we move into Session in January, I look forward to finding additional solutions to support the Port of Savannah and the hard-working Georgians that deliver the goods that we rely on for our daily lives. As always, if you have any feedback, do not hesitate to call (404) 656-5052, email, or engage on Facebook. If you would like to receive email updates, please visit my website to sign up for my newsletter or email me.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly, where he serves as the House majority leader.