FMCSA gives states choice to extend CDL waiver

February 17, 2021

Land Line Staff


The next extension of commercial driver’s license waivers will be left up to the states.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s current waiver is set to expire Feb. 28. In an update published by the FMCSA on Feb. 16, the agency said it will permit – but not require –states to extend the validity of CDLs and commercial learner’s permits and to waive the 14-day waiting period.

However, FMCSA’s updated waiver for medical certifications is clear cut. The medical certification waivers will be extended until May 31 for any medical cards that expired on or after Dec. 1.

The updates to the waivers become effective March 1 and expire on May 31.

FMCSA has been issuing similar waivers and extensions for the past year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If states choose to do so, CDLs and learner’s permits due for renewal on or after this past March can be extended beyond the respective eight-year and one-year maximums.

“Under this waiver, states have the discretion to determine whether, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, there is a continued need to extend the validity of CDLs that expired on or after March 1, 2020,” FMCSA wrote.


Because of the limited scope, the short duration and other precautions in place, FMCSA said it has determined that a waiver is not expected to negatively affect safety.

“The waiver does not alter any of the knowledge and skills testing requirements for obtaining either a CDL, a CLP, or necessary endorsement,” the notice stated. “It does not allow states to extend the license of a CDL or CLP holder whose credential expired prior to March 1, 2020. It does not apply to a CDL or CLP holder if the driver’s privileges have been suspended or withdrawn for traffic offenses or if the driver is otherwise disqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle.”

Hours of service

FMCSA also recently extended its federal hours-of-service waiver through May 31.

The declaration provides relief from hours-of-service regulations for motor carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers providing direct assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest hours-of-service waiver can be found here. LL

WW Williams