FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Buel C. Young||MVA Media Relations|
LT. GOVERNOR BROWN ANNOUNCES NEW MVA SERVICES FOR VETERANS
MVA Now Offering Veteran Indicator on Licenses and Streamlined Process for Commercial Drivers’ Licenses
LAUREL, Md. (January 14, 2013) – Today, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown joined officials from the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), various veterans organizations, and other federal, state and local officials to announce two new services available through the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to help veterans better connect to job opportunities and access benefits and services. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro and Department of Defense Training Readiness and Strategy Director Frank C. DiGiovanni were also present for today’s announcement, held at the American Legion Post 60 in Laurel.
“Providing these new services through the MVA is an important part of the commitment we make each and every day to improve the lives of the 30,000 active military and 460,000 Veterans who call Maryland home,” said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and the highest ranking elected official to have served a tour of duty in Iraq. “Our Veterans bring a tremendous amount of skill, passion, and character to our workforce and to our state. That’s why we must continue to do everything within our power to help them find quality jobs and get them access to the care and services they’ve earned. Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to achieving these goals.”
As of January 1, the MVA is offering a veteran indicator on drivers’ licenses and identification cards to help veterans more easily identify themselves in order to access available services and resources, an initiative in accordance with legislation unanimously passed by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2012 Legislative Session, which was sponsored by Senator James N. Mathias, Jr. (District 38) and Delegate Norman H. Conway (District 38B). Lt. Governor Brown provided testimony in favor of the legislation before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
Delegate Conway said, “I am extremely proud to have sponsored this legislation with Senator Mathias in the Senate that will make it easier for veterans to take advantage of opportunities they have earned.” Senator Mathias added, “The time that veterans have invested in us is priceless, for us and for our freedom. This is just another way that we can honor our veterans for the sacrifices they have made for us – by adding an indicator that recognizes their service to our country.”
Creating a veteran status on Maryland drivers’ licenses was also a recommendation made in 2011 by the Veterans Behavioral Health Advisory Board, which was chaired by the Lt. Governor, in order to better connect with veterans to notify them of available resources and services through the State. In the first week since the MVA began offering the Veteran indicator, over 270 veterans have already received the new indicator on their driver’s license, ID card or learner’s permit.
Lt. Governor Brown also announced that, effective January 1, Maryland is offering veterans a streamlined process to obtain commercial drivers’ licenses. In another effort by the Obama Administration to assist veterans, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently adopted regulations, which gave states the authority to waive the driver skills test for veterans that is required to obtain a commercial license.
“Maryland veterans who can handle large, commercial vehicles, can now benefit from a streamlined process to obtain commercial driver’s licenses,” said FMCSA Administrator Ferro. “This program will assist veterans in their transition from their military to their civilian lives. As more and more troops return home from active duty, the process provides a method to connect them to quality jobs in transportation.”
The Commercial Driver’s License waiver is for recently discharged service members who meet specific criteria. The waiver only applies to CDL License Classes A and B. To qualify, veterans must:
- have two years of experience driving vehicles as part of their job function immediately preceding their discharge from the military;
- have a good driving record;
- have a certification from their commanding officers of the type of vehicle they operated to determine the appropriate license classification and their years of operation; and
- pass the CDL knowledge test.
For more detailed information on these new services for veterans, visit the MVA website at: http://www.mva.maryland.gov/drivers/apply/military.htm
In addition to these new services, the MVA recently added five new service-connected plates to honor veterans of the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Navy. These service-connected plates are just a few of the wide selection of license plates the MVA offers to veterans for their personal vehicles. An additional 56 special service-connected plates are offered by the MVA to recognize individual honors, achievements, and participation in our armed forces, including plates of recognition for service in the two most recent military conflicts, the Afghan Campaign plate and the Iraq Campaign Medal plate. For more detailed information on these service-connected plates or to apply for the plates, visit our website at: http://www.mva.maryland.gov/vehicles/specialty-plates/index.htm.
The MVA also designs and manufactures more than 46 organization license plates that support military organizations, including survivors of specific conflicts, veterans in general, veterans of specific wars, reservists, various brigades and divisions, the Air Force, the American Legion, the Coast Guard, the Naval Academy, the National Guard, prisoners of war, the Marines and many others. For more detailed information on military organization or other organization plates visit our website at: http://www.mva.maryland.gov/vehicles/specialty-plates/index.htm.
Lt. Governor Brown leads the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s efforts to provide veterans with better services and resources. Since taking office in 2007, Lt. Governor Brown has championed successful efforts to pass the Veterans Behavioral Health Act, protect veterans’ business loans programs and fully fund the Iraq and Afghanistan Scholarship Program. In 2011, the Lt. Governor launched the Mil2FedsJobs web portal, located on the Maryland Workforce Exchange (MWEjobs.maryland.gov), the first of its kind in any state to directly match transitioning service members with careers in the Federal Government.