In order to provide flexibility to Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) operators in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced in February that several waivers would be extended pertaining to the exemption for delivery of critical supplies, expiring Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) and Commercial Learner’s Permits (CLPs).
These waivers expired May 31, however, the continuing impact of coronavirus on supply chains and State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) led the FMCSA to extend the waivers again. Qualifying CMV drivers have until August 31, 2021 to operate under these new waivers, although the FMCSA could modify or terminate or modify the waivers before then.
FMCSA Extension of Expanded Modified Emergency Declaration
This declaration continues to provide regulatory relief only to CMV operations providing direct assistance related to coronavirus and is limited to the transportation of:
- Livestock and livestock feed
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of coronavirus
- Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of coronavirus
- Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of coronavirus, such as: masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants
- Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores
Direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration.
The full text of the extension can be viewed online:
Waiver in Response to the Coronavirus National Emergency – For States, CDL Holders, CLP Holders and Interstate Drivers Operating CMVs
Under this waiver, the FMCSA permits, but does not require, States to extend the validity of CDLs and CLPs that expired on or after March 1, 2020 until August 31, 2021. Due to the public health emergency, many States are experiencing backlogs or reduced hours of operation in their State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) in response to the guidance from the CDC and if applicable, State and local guidance, to use social distancing to reduce the spread of coronavirus. As a result, many CDL and CLP holders may be unable to renew their CDLs and CLPs or provide medical certificates to their SDLA.
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 (FMCSR). Given the national emergency, there is a continued public need for transportation of essential supplies, equipment, and persons, which requires an adequate and sustained supply of CDL holders, CLP holders, and drivers operating CMVs (non-CDL drivers). The FMCSA intends to review the status of this waiver as of July 1, 2021 and may take action to terminate the waiver sooner than August 21, 2021 if conditions warrant.
What this means for drivers:
For CLP holders, the FMCSA has waived:
- The requirement to retake the knowledge test if more than a year has passed since the permit was issued
- The 14-day waiting period for taking the CDL skills test
- The requirement that a CLP holder be accompanied by a CDL holder physically present in the front seat (he or she may be elsewhere in the cab)
- Restrictions on states performing skills tests on out-of-state applicants and using certain third-party skills-test examiners who are not fully trained
The licensing waiver is not binding on the states, so drivers should verify that their state is honoring it.
Under the revised medical-card waiver, a driver can qualify for an extension on an expiring medical card if:
- His or her existing medical card expired on or after March 1, 2021
- The existing medical card was issued for at least 90 days
- The driver has not been diagnosed with a disqualifying medical condition since the previous medical exam
- The driver carries a copy of his or her expired medical certificate and any required variance
The full text of the extension can be viewed online
For more information, contact an EPIC Transportation and Logistics team member.
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