October 14, 2011
MOTORCYCLE LICENSING FOR MILITARY MEMBERS OVERSEAS
By: Joseph Holstead, Associate Analyst
You asked how many states accept a Department of Defense (DOD) motorcycle safety course completed out-of-state for a military member to have his or her driver's license endorsed for motorcycle operation.
According to a survey conducted by the Department of the Navy (DoN), more than half of all states issue motorcycle licenses or license endorsements based on the successful completion of the DOD safety course. In 2008, DoN asked all states if they accept the DOD motorcycle safety course taken out-of-state (“reciprocity for military members”) to approve a motorcycle license or endorsement. Of the 44 responding states, 26 states accept the DOD safety course taken out-of-state. The remaining 18 do not, including Connecticut. (Eight of the 18 will accept the exam but with an additional in-state or other requirement, such as completion of a written exam in person, which would not be plausible for a military member stationed overseas.) The survey results (in an excel spreadsheet) are available at the Naval Safety Center website: Reciprocity By State for Military Members - US Navy.
However, Connecticut's motorcycle operation statute does not appear to prohibit acceptance of an out-of-state safety course that is Motorcycle Safety Foundation approved (which the DOD course is) for motorcycle endorsement on a driver's license. Additionally, we found no regulations that state otherwise (CGS § 14-40a). More information on obtaining a motorcycle endorsement in Connecticut is available at the following Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website: http://www.ct.gov/dmv/cwp/view.asp?a=805&q=470670. The following link is to the statute for your reference: http://search.cga.state.ct.us/dlSURS/SURK/DOC/14--00--0040--AK.DOC.
We have contacted the Connecticut DMV for clarification on the department's policy in light of our reading of the statute. DMV continues to work on our request. We will update this report with DMV's response.