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Jesse White’s new law helps veterans in the trucking industry

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is making it easier for military veterans to get jobs in the trucking industry. Senate Bill 822, initiated by White and signed into law by the governor, allows for an exemption from the Commercial Driver License (CDL) knowledge written test requirement for qualified current or former military personnel who participated in military heavy-vehicle driving programs.

“I am pleased to help make it easier for our military veterans to find employment based on their previous military driving service,” said White. “These are individuals who have given so much of themselves for the greater good of this nation. I had the honor of serving as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division and as a member of the Illinois National Guard and Army Reserve. There is no greater honor than serving your country, and we should do our part to help these heroes find jobs suitable to their skills and experiences. That’s what this new law does.”

Illinois is the first state in the nation to take advantage of recent changes to federal CDL regulations that grant state driver licensing agencies the authority to exempt veterans from taking the knowledge written test, a move known as the “Even Exchange” process. The new law allows White’s office to waive the written exam of veterans applying for a commercial learner’s permit, provided the applicant meets all of the following requirements:

  • is a current resident of Illinois;
  • is a current or former member of the U.S. military;
  • within one year prior to the application, has been regularly employed in a military position that requires the operation of large trucks;
  • has received formal military training in the operation of a vehicle similar to the commercial motor vehicle the applicant expects to operate;
  • completes a knowledge written test waiver form, available at, certifying that the applicant qualifies for the general knowledge test waiver.

This is the latest effort White has launched to assist and honor veterans for their service to our nation.

In 2015, White implemented the policy that gives U.S. military veterans the opportunity to get an updated driver’s license/ID card with the word “VETERAN” displayed under the signature on the front of the card. This applies to veterans who have received an Honorable or General under Honorable Conditions discharge. The veteran’s designation helps ensure military veterans living in Illinois receive the services and benefits for which they are entitled, including healthcare, education and employment assistance.

In 2014, White initiated a law that permits his office to waive the CDL skills drive test requirement for qualified veterans and active duty personnel who meet the requirements stated in federal and state law (625 ILCS 5/6-508 (b).

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