FMCSA Grants Waiver For States, CDL Holders, CLP Holders and Interstate Drivers Operating CMV's
On March 24, 2020, the FMCSA granted a waiver which will expire on June 30, 2020. This waiver will provide relief from certain regulations relevant to interstate and intrastate commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders and to other interstate drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). FMCSA has initiated this action in response to the President’s declaration of a national emergency under 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b) related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
IMPORTANT DATES: This waiver is effective March 20, 2020, and expires on June 30, 2020.
Due to the current climate and circumstances around the COVID-19 Pandemic and the negative impact on public health, safety, welfare of the general public, social distancing guidance by the CDC and all non-essential business closures, several States are experiencing greater than normal employee absences or have closed offices of their State Driver Licensing Agencies.
Consequently, many Commercial Driver License (CDL) and Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) holders are unable to renew their CDLs and CLPs and are unable to provide medical certificates to their State Driver Licensing Agencies.
Furthermore, numerous medical providers throughout the nation have canceled regularly scheduled appointments in an effort to dedicate resources to the COVID-19 response. As a result, drivers are unable to obtain appointments for physical examinations with medical examiners to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).
Due to 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 license holders, CLP holders, and drivers operating CMVs (non-CDL drivers). This waiver will assist with the needed relief from specified FMCSA regulations for CDL holders, CLP holders, and non-CDL drivers.
FMCSA’s Determination and Regulatory Provisions Waived
In an effort to respond to this unique national emergency and to continue the ability of intrastate and interstate CDL and CLP holders and interstate non-CDL drivers to transport goods in response to the COVID-19 emergency, this waiver:
- Extends until June 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 June 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 that was issued for a period of 90 days or longer and that expired on or after March 1, 2020. e.
- 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.
- 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.
States, CDL license holders, CLP holders, and interstate non-CDL CMV drivers are covered under this waiver without further action.
Are there terms, Conditions, and Restrictions for this waiver?
Yes, this waiver covers States, CDL holders, CLP holders, and interstate non-CDL CMV drivers for the period beginning at 12:01 a.m. (ET) on March 20, 2020, continuing through 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2020.
- 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 (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.) The 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.
8. 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.