FMCSA waiver gives truckers with expiring licenses and medical cards room to breathe

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will once again extend a waiver giving truckers with expiring licenses some extra time to get them renewed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.

The FMCSA waiver provides regulatory relief for commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders whose licenses or medical cards expired after March 1, 2020.

This is an extension of a waiver issued March 24, 2020, that provided truckers with regulatory relief through June 30, 2020 due to the pandemic.

The FMCSA explained that due to the public health emergency, state drivers licensing agencies in many states shut down completely or experienced higher than normal employee absences, making it tough for truckers to get their expiring licenses renewed on time.

The FMCSA also pointed out that many medical care providers have cancelled regular appointments due to the COVID-19 crisis, making it harder for truck drivers to obtain the necessary physical exam to obtain their medical certificate.

Specifically, the waiver performs the following actions:

  • Extends until September 30, 2020, the maximum period of CDL validity by waiving 49 CFR 383.73(b)(9) and 383.73(d)(6) for CDLs due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020.
  • Extends until September 30, 2020, the maximum period of CLP validity by waiving 49 CFR 383.73(a)(2)(iii) and 383.25(c) 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 under 49 CFR 383.25(e) that CLP holders wait 14 days to take the CDL skills test.
  • Waives the requirement under 49 CFR 391.45 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 and any required medical variance (as defined in 49 CFR 390.5T such as an exemption letter or a skill performance evaluation certificate) that were issued for a period of 90 days or longer and that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
  • Waives the requirement under 49 CFR 383.71(h)(3) 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 and any required medical variance, provided that they have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
  • Waives the requirement under 49 CFR 383.73(o)(2) 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 or medical variance that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
  • Waives the requirements under 49 CFR 383.73(o)(4) 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.
  • In accordance with 49 CFR 383.23(a)(1) and 391.41(a)(1)(i), 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, in accordance with 49 CFR part 383, 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.

Please click here to view the full waiver.