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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on March 24 issued a formal notice that it will not take enforcement action for certain expired commercial driver licenses, learner permits and medical certifications through June 30.
“Many States are experiencing greater than normal employee absences or have closed offices of their state driver licensing agencies in response to the guidance from the U.S. Center for Disease Control to use social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” the policy statement said. “Because of these actions, many commercial motor vehicle drivers are unable to renew their driver’s license and are unable to provide medical certificates to their state driver licensing agencies.”
In addition, many medical providers nationwide have canceled regularly scheduled appointments to dedicate resources to the COVID-19 response or for related reasons, and drivers are unable to obtain appointments for physical examinations with medical examiners to comply with FMCSA regulations, the agency said.
“Given 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 CMV drivers including CLP holders, CDL holders, and non-CDL commercial drivers,” FMCSA said. “Ensuring that drivers are available to operate CMVs during the national emergency declaration is critical to continued operation of the transportation and energy supply networks and the safety and economic stability of our nation.”
The notice, effective from March 24 to June 30, provides needed relief from specified federal regulations for CLP holders, CDL holders, and non-CDL drivers and motor carriers using those drivers.
“This Notice of Enforcement Policy applies to all CLP holders, CDL holders and non-CDL drivers whose license was issued for less than the maximum period established by 49 CFR 383.25 and 383.73 and was valid on Feb. 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020,” FMCSA said.
Specifically, FMCSA said it will “exercise its enforcement discretion to not take enforcement action” for:
- A CLP or CDL holder operating a CMV with an expired license, but only if the CLP or CDL was valid on Feb. 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020.
- A motor carrier that allows a CLP or CDL driver to operate a CMV during a period in which the driver does not have a current CLP or CDL, but only if the CLP or CDL was valid on Feb. 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020.
- A CMV driver (i.e., CLP, CDL, or non-CDL license holder) or motor carrier that allows a CMV driver to operate a CMV during a period in which the driver’s operator license has expired, but only if the driver’s license was valid on Feb. 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020, and the driver is otherwise qualified to drive under federal regulation 391.11.
- A CMV driver or motor carrier that allows a CMV driver to operate a CMV during a period in which the driver does not have the current medical certificate, but only if the driver has evidence of a medical certification that was valid on Feb. 29, 2020, and expired on or after March 1, 2020.
In addition, the agency issued corresponding formal waivers for CDL holders, CLP holders and non-CDL drivers to 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.
The waiver does not apply to a CDL or CLP holder if the driver’s license expired before March 1, 2020, or to a CDL or CLP holder if the driver’s privileges have been suspended or withdrawn for traffic offenses.
“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 drivers’ licenses or medical cards,” Dan Horvath, vice president of safety policy for American Trucking Associations, said in a statement. “With state governments moving to remote work and shuttering offices, drivers will need assistance to continue moving critical goods safely, and today’s guidance is a step toward ensuring those trucks keep moving.”
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