49th LRS implements new CDL test

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Collette Brooks
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs

Holloman Air Force Base is the ninth Air Force installation to adopt the new American Association for Motor Vehicle Administrator/Commercial Driver License certification process.
The Air Force Headquarters standardized a lesson plan primarily based off of AAMVA standards.

“The Air Force is enhancing certification standards for all units and personnel operating government motor vehicles designed to carry 16 or more passengers to include buses, tractor-trailer combinations, fuel tankers and commercial motor vehicles,” said Staff Sgt. Cody Small, 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron training validation and operations noncommissioned officer in charge. “Obtaining this certification allows Airmen to receive a CDL in any state without undergoing further testing or an additional certification process at a state driver licensing agency.”

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration developed the national licensing requirements issued by the Secretary of Transportation under the Department of Transportation. The AAMVA/CDL test system is now the minimum national standard and model.

“Ground transportation Airmen and other Airmen who need a CDL due to their job or unit requirements must go through the 49th LRS now to be qualified,” said Small.
Before this new model was in place, Airmen were able to get qualified to operate commercial vehicles through their respective unit. However, with Airmen now required to seek CDL validation through the 49th LRS possess a new and unique opportunity.

“Coming here to be qualified helps Airmen in the long run because their CDL certificate will now transfer over to the civilian sector,” said Small.

This new model gives Airmen the ability to seek employment such as a commercial truck driver, a fuel tank driver, or a school bus driver without any additional tests or certifications needed.

Only trained and appointed training validation and operation examiners can certify personnel on the four-part AAMVA/CDL qualification test compromised of a written multiple-choice test, a vehicle inspection, a basic control skills test and a road test.

Airmen begin their qualification process with a written multiple-choice test that covers general CDL knowledge. They then move onto conducting an air-brake test, a combination test (if the examinee is certifying on tractor-trailer), and finally a hazmat test, (if examinee requires hazmat endorsement).

Following the completion of the required knowledge exam(s), the examinee will then demonstrate their ability to properly inspect the vehicle, while abiding by the CDL driver manual, and reciting proper verbiage for each item on the vehicle inspection checklist.
Once this test is passed, the examinee may move on to the basic control skills test.
The basic control skills test is includes various backing maneuvers that are outlined in AFQTP 24-3-200 (Ground Transportation Training Validation and Operations Examiner’s Guide).

Following the completion and passing of the basic control skills test, examinees then take part in their final qualification portion, the road test. Airmen must demonstrate their ability to drive in a variety of traffic situations.

Not only has the AAMVA/CDL qualification increased proficiency and certifications available to Airmen post their Air Force career, but it also aids Airmen in their ability to perform their daily duties with more confidence and ease.

“This process increased my knowledge of the names and functions of the tractor-trailer engine, what I should be looking for during a vehicle pre-inspection and how to couple a tractor-trailer to the CDL standard,” said Airman 1st Class Zaire Rivers, 49th LRS grounds transportation operator. “Obtaining my AAMVA/CDL was a great experience.”

Although Rivers increased her CDL knowledge and skill-set during the certification process, her experience did still come with a challenges that she fought to overcome.

“The main challenge I faced during my qualification process was backing up the tractor-trailer,” said Rivers. “It took a while for me to get the hang of it because left is right and right is left when backing up a tractor. Although that portion of the test was difficult for me, I know practice makes perfect, so I never gave up and continued my reversing skills until I got it right.”