The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a policy instructing state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) to remove commercial driving privileges if a driver uses a CMV to commit sexual assault.
In a “Notice of Enforcement Policy” issued by the FMCSA on December 7, the agency seeks to “increase awareness of sexual assault against commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and to emphasize that Federal law requires that persons who are convicted of using a CMV to commit a felony must be disqualified from operating a CMV requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP) for the time periods set forth in 49 CFR 383.51(b), Table 1, item (6).”
The FMCSA points out that existing federal law requires states to revoke a driver’s CDL or CLP if they are convicted of using a CMV to commit a felony, other than a felony related to controlled substances or human trafficking.
The policy reminds SDLAs that when State courts forward convictions based on the use of a CMV in the commission of felony sexual assault, the SDLA must disqualify the driver from operating a CMV for a set period of time.
The FMCSA defines the use of a CMV in the commission of a sexual assault as:
- Felony sexual assault occurring in or upon a CMV or towed unit; or
- Use of a CMV to transport a victim to a site where felony sexual assault is committed; or
- Use of a CMV to conceal a felony sexual assault – e.g., the CMV serves as a shield from public view while the assault is taking place.
The FMCSA clarifies that the CDL/CLP disqualification would still apply even if the victim of the sexual assault is someone other than another truck driver or a driver trainee.
“The safety of CMV operators is a critical aspect of FMCSA’s safety mission. Sexual assaults have occurred at truck stops, fueling stations, and in connection with CMV driver training. Truck drivers whose personal safety is at risk cannot devote their complete attention to the safe operation of a CMV and the performance of other safety sensitive functions. State courts and State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) play a key role in addressing this problem,” the FMCSA said.