WASHINGTON — On March 24, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a waiver that lifts several regulations for commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders, as well as for non-CDL drivers of commercial motor vehicles. The waiver was issued in response to President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The waiver, which is retroactive to March 20 and continues through June 30, is designed to allow drivers to quickly and effectively transport goods in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The waiver does not apply to license holders whose CDL or CLP expired before March 1 or who have had driving privileges suspended or withdrawn for traffic offenses; other restrictions also apply.
In addition to extending until June 30 the validity of CDLs and CLPs due for renewal on or after March 1, the waiver extends the validity of medical certifications that were issued for a period of 90 days or longer and that expired on or after March 1; waives the 14-day waiting period for CLP holders to take the CDL skills test; and lifts several other regulations. To view the waiver in its entirety, click here.
The waiver is not a blanket exemption from CDL, CLP and medical-certification requirements, and drivers and carriers should carefully review the waiver to make sure they qualify.
American Trucking Associations (ATA) applauded the FMCSA’s move to address disruptions in licensing and medical certifications due to the COVID-19 crisis. The organization offers a COVID-19 update hub on its website.
“While America’s truck drivers are out delivering the essential medical supplies, food and other goods, we need to combat this virus, FMCSA has taken an important step to let drivers and carriers know how to address things like expired commercial driver’s licenses or medical cards,” said Dan Horvath, ATA’s vice president of safety policy.
“With state governments moving to remote work and shuttering offices, drivers will need assistance to continue moving critical goods safely. (This) guidance is a step toward ensuring those trucks keep moving,” Horvath continued.
Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) also provides information and assistance for drivers and carriers in the midst of the pandemic on its resources for COVID-19 page. In addition, TCA is asking its members to report incidents of drivers being detained or prevented from entering “a shut-down area, state or even municipality” by making note of the location and the freight being hauled and sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org.