FMCSA grants CDL renewal waiver due to Coronavirus crisis

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a waiver intended to help truck drivers who are unable to renew their Commercial Drivers License (CDL) due to the Coronavirus crisis.

On March 24, FMCSA issued a waiver pertaining to expiring licenses for commercial vehicle drivers due to COVID-19 to provide them with regulatory relief through June 30, 2020. States, CDL holders, CLP holders, and interstate non-CDL CMV drivers are all addressed under the waiver.

FMCSA says that the waiver was issued due to closures and staffing issues at state drivers licensing offices across the country as a result of Coronavirus and social distancing recommendations issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). FMCSA also recognizes that many health care providers who perform DOT medical exams are no longer offering those services as they focus their efforts on combatting the pandemic.

“Given the national emergency, there is a public need for immediate transportation of essential supplies, equipment, and persons, which requires an adequate and sustained supply of CDL holders, CLP holders, and drivers operating CMVs (non-CDL drivers). This waiver provides needed relief from specified FMCSRs for CDL holders, CLP holders, and non-CDL drivers,” FMCSA says.

The specific provisions granted by the waiver are listed below:

  • Extends until June 30, 2020 the maximum period of CDL validity for CDLs due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020. 
  • Extends until June 30, 2020 the maximum period of CLP validity for CLPs that are due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020, without requiring the CLP holders to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests.
  • Waives the requirement that CLP holders wait 14 days to take the CDL skills test.
  • Waives the requirement under that CDL holders, CLP holders, and non-CDL drivers have a medical examination and certification, provided that they have proof of a valid medical certification that was issued for a period of 90 days or longer and that expired on or afterMarch 1, 2020.
  • Waives the requirement under that, in order to maintain the medical certification status of “certified,” CDL or CLP holders provide the State Driver Licensing Agency with an original or copy of a subsequently issued medical examiner’s certificate, provided that they have proof of a valid medical certification that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
  • Waives the requirement under that the State Driver Licensing Agency change the CDL or CLP holder’s medical certification status to “not certified” upon the expiration of the medical examiner’s certificate or medical variance, provided that the CDL or CLP holders have proof of a valid medical certification that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
  • Waives the requirements under that the State Driver Licensing Agency initiate a CDL or CLP downgrade upon the expiration of the medical examiner’s certificate or medical variance, provided that the CDL or CLP holders have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
  • FMCSA continues to recognize the validity of commercial driver’s licenses issued by Canadian Provinces and Territories and Licencias Federales de Conductor issued by the United Mexican States when such jurisdictions issue a similar notice or declaration extending the validity date of the medical examination and certification and/or validity of the corresponding commercial driver’s license due to interruption to government service resulting from COVID-19. 

The FMCSA issued several stipulations to go along with the waiver:

  • This waiver does not apply to a CDL or CLP holder if the driver’s license expired before March 1, 2020.
  • This waiver does not apply to a CDL or CLP holder if the driver’s privileges have been suspended or withdrawn for traffic offenses.
  • Drivers claiming relief under this waiver from the requirement for a valid medical certificate must have proof of a valid medical certificate that expired on or after March 1, 2020, and carry a paper copy of their expired medical certificates. 
  • Drivers who cannot produce evidence of a prior medical certification that expired on or after March 1, 2020, are not covered under this waiver, including new drivers who have never obtained a medical certification.
  • Drivers who, since their last medical certificate was issued, have been diagnosed with a medical condition that would disqualify the driver from operating in interstate commerce, or who, since their last medical certificate was issued, have developed a condition that requires an exemption or Skill Performance Evaluation from FMCSA are not covered under this waiver.
  • This waiver does not apply to medical examiner’s certificates originally issued for less than 90 days.  
  • Notification to FMCSA of Accidents. Each motor carrier must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of an accident , involving any CDL holder, CLP holder, or non-CDL driver operating under the terms of this waiver.

For more information or to view the waiver, please click here.