COOPERSTOWN -- In a move aimed at making it easier for military veterans to land jobs, the state Department of Motor Vehicles is waiving road tests for those seeking a commercial driver's license if they have military experience operating a similar vehicle.

The unemployment rate for returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has been estimated at 12 percent.

Officials said the new waiver is available for up to 90 days after discharge or for active duty military and active duty New York National Guard members who currently hold a valid driver license.

To qualify, the applicants must be regularly employed or have been regularly employed within the last 90 days in a military position requiring operation of a commercial motor vehicle. Those vehicles that were operated in the military must be similar to a civil commercial vehicle for at least two years immediately preceding discharge from the military, officials said.

State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara Fiala said she hoped the waivers "will make things just a little easier for our returning veterans."

Tony Moore, president of the Oneonta Veterans Club and a retired state trooper who served in Vietnam when he was in the Marine Corps, said similar waivers should be considered for veterans with a wide range of occupational skills.

"There ought to be waivers for veterans for all kinds of licenses," said Moore. "But this is wonderful. It didn't happen soon enough. In the military, you're getting not only the classroom instruction but also real experience."

Veterans seeking the waivers are being asked to obtain the "CDL Certification for Military Waiver or Skills Test," or Form CDL-102, which state officials said is available at any DMV office or online at www.dmv.ny.gov/forms.cdl102.pdf.

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