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FMCSA Waives Certain License Renewals, Medical Card Renewals, and Requires Reporting of Accidents For Drivers Operating Under Waiver

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a “Waiver in Response to COVID-19 Emergency” on March 24, 2020 concerning renewals of licenses and medical certifications for holders of commercial drivers’ licenses (CDL), commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders, and other interstate drivers operating commercial motor vehicles. The waiver took effect on March 20, 2020 and expires on June 30, 2020. It was initiated in response to the President’s declaration of a national emergency related to COVID-19.

Regulatory Provisions Waived

Among other things, FMCSA’s waiver:

  • Extends the validity of CDLs and CLPs due for renewal on and after March 1, 2020 until June 30, 2020.

  • 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 that was 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, provided that they have proof of a valid medical certification 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 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.

Terms, Conditions, and Restrictions of the Waiver

  1. This waiver does not apply to a CDL or CLP holder if the driver’s license expired before March 1, 2020.

  2. This waiver does not apply to a CDL or CLP holder if the driver’s privileges have been suspended or withdrawn for traffic offenses.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. This waiver does not apply to medical examiner’s certificates originally issued for less than 90 days.

  7. Notification to FMCSA of Accidents. Each motor carrier must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of an accident (as defined in 49 CFR 390.5), involving any CDL holder, CLP holder, or non-CDL driver operating under the terms of this waiver. See 49 CFR 390.15(b) (requiring maintenance of accident registry.)  Notification shall be by email to MCPSD@DOT.GOV. The notification must include the following information:

  • Date of the accident;

  • City or town, and State in which the accident occurred, or closest to the accident scene;

  • Driver’s name and license number;

  • Vehicle number and State license number;

  • Number of individuals suffering physical injury;

  • Number of fatalities;

  • The police-reported cause of the accident (if available at time of the report); and,

  • Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, or motor carrier safety regulations.

FMCSA reserves the right to revoke this waiver for drivers’ involvement in accidents, motor carriers’ failure to report accidents, and drivers’ failure to comply with the restrictions of this waiver.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020

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About this Author

Kathryn J. Russo Disability Lawsuits Attorney Jackson Lewis Law firm Alcohol Testing Lawyer
Principal

Kathryn J. Russo is a Principal in the Long Island, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She is a firm resource on the legal issues implicated in workplace drug and alcohol testing arising under federal, state and local laws.

Ms. Russo assists clients with workplace problems involving drugs and alcohol, and gives advice about compliance with all pertinent drug and alcohol testing laws. She prepares substance abuse policies to comply with all federal drug and alcohol testing regulations (including all agencies of the U.S....

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