A year of waivers

FMCSA extends CDL, HOS waivers until Dec. 31

November 2020

Mark Schremmer

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration extended its waivers for expiring commercial driver’s licenses, commercial learner’s permits, and medical cards.

FMCSA announced on Sept. 18 it would extend the waiver for commercial driver’s licenses and commercial learner’s permits until Dec. 31, while the medical card extension will depend on when it was set to expire. For drivers whose medical certification was valid on Feb. 29 and expired on or after March 1, but before June 1, the requirement was waived until Oct. 31. For drivers whose medical certification expired on or after June 1, the requirement is waived until Dec. 31.

FMCSA’s original waiver was announced on March 24 and set to last three months. In June, the agency extended the waiver until Sept. 30. The third installment took effect Oct. 1.

The enforcement notice gives relief to truck drivers with expiring CDLs, commercial learner’s permits, or medical cards during the COVID-19 pandemic.

FMCSA said that many state driver licensing agencies have been closed or have reduced hours because of the pandemic. The agency noted that many states have reopened but have resumed only limited operations.

“As a result, many CDL and CLP holders may be unable to renew … or provide medical certificates to their state driver licensing agency,” the FMCSA notice stated. “In addition, due to limited operations or backlogs, drivers may be unable to obtain appointments for physical examinations with medical examiners to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.”

FMCSA said it does not expect the waiver to lead to any safety concerns because of its limited scope and short duration. Also in September, the agency extended its federal hours-of-service waiver for commercial motor vehicle drivers providing direct assistance for the COVID-19 pandemic through the rest of the year. In March, FMCSA made history when it issued its first federal hours-of-service waiver. Now, the emergency declaration is set to last for more than nine months. LL

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Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.