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FMCSA to publish final CDL rule Friday

The new final rule eliminates a reporting redundancy for those cases in which a conviction occurs in a state that has a certified CDL program in substantial compliance with FMCSA’s regulations, which now includes all states. (The Trucker file photo)

The Trucker News Services

4/25/2013

WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Friday will publish a final rule amending the agency’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) rules to eliminate the requirement for drivers to notify the state licensing agency that issued their commercial learner’s permit or CDL of out-of-state traffic convictions when those convictions occur in states that have a certified CDL program in substantial compliance with FMCSA’s rules.

The rule will be published Friday in the Federal Register and will become effective30 days later.

A spokesperson for the agency said that as of the publishing of the notice, all states have a certified CDL program that is in substantial compliance with FMCSA rules.

Current regulations require both CDL holders and states with certified CDL programs to report a CDL holder’s out-of-state traffic conviction to the driver’s state of licensure. The final rule amends the CDL rules to eliminate this reporting redundancy for those cases in which the conviction occurs in a state that has a certified CDL program in substantial compliance with FMCSA’s regulations.

This change will reduce a regulatory burden on individual CLP and CDL holders and state driver licensing agencies, the agency said.

The anticipated benefits of the rule will take the form of reduced paperwork burden hours and expenditures for the reporting of out-of-state traffic convictions, the Federal Register notice says, but adds that neither the benefits nor the costs of eliminating this regulatory burden can be quantified at this time.

States will continue to rely on state-to-state reporting, which is more accurate and secure than driver self-reporting.

Eliminating the requirement that the CDL holder report a conviction to the state of licensure does not eliminate the driver responsibility to report the conviction to his or her employer within 30 days of the conviction, the FMCSA said.

The American Trucking Associations and Werner Enterprises, in their public comments about the rule, expressed concerns that a system needed to be in place to alert drivers when a state is out of compliance.

The FMCSA said it agreed that if a state is no longer in compliance with the conviction reporting requirements, drivers should be given notice.

At this time the FMCSA said it believed a more effective alternative is to alert drivers that their self-reporting requirements have been reactivated through a Federal Register notice, as suggested by the ATA, and also to provide notification by way of the FMCSA website and other social media. The agency however, said it believed the requirement to notify drivers should be incorporated into a new regulation that addresses consequences of states with noncompliance § 384.409 under Subpart D of part 384, which addresses the consequences of State noncompliance. Therefore, the agency said t it had incorporated language in the final rule in new § 384.409 to implement this solution.

Eliminating the requirement that the CDL holder report a conviction to the state of  licensure does not eliminate the driver responsibility to report the conviction to his or her employer within 30 days of the conviction, the FMCSA said.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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