FMCSA Temporarily Extends Commercial Drivers’ Licenses, Permits and Medical Certifications

COVID-19 Update

Date: March 30, 2020

On March 24, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) granted a temporary waiver that effectively extends the validity of commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), commercial learner’s permits (CLPs) and medical certificates for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The waiver will expire on June 30, 2020.

The FMCSA initiated this action in response to the impact COVID-19 outbreaks are having on CMV drivers, medical examiners, state driver licensing agencies and the public. According to the FMCSA, many drivers are unable to renew their CDLs and CDPs because licensing agencies have closed to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Drivers also are having trouble obtaining medical certificates because many medical examiners have cancelled appointments to dedicate resources to the COVID-19 response. Moreover, the FMCSA recognizes that there is “a public need for immediate 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).”

To address these issues, the waiver:

  • Extends the maximum validity period until June 30, 2020, for CDLs due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020.
  • Extends the maximum validity period until June 30, 2020, for CLPs due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020, without requiring CLP holders to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests.
  • Waives the 14-day waiting period for CLP holders to take CDL skills tests.
  • Waives the medical examination and certification requirement for CDL holders, CLP holders and non-CDL drivers who 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.
  • Waives the requirement that CDL and CLP holders provide their state driver licensing agency a copy of their medical examiner’s certificate, provided the holder has proof of a valid medical certification that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
  • Waives the requirement that a state driver licensing agency change a CDL or CLP holder’s medical status to “not certified” upon expiration of a medical certificate or variance if the holder has proof of a valid medical certification that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
  • Waives the requirement that a state driver licensing agency initiate a CDL or CLP downgrade upon expiration of a medical certificate or variance if the CDL or CLP holder has proof of a valid medical certification that expired on or after March 1, 2020.

The waiver states that the FMCSA will continue to recognize the validity of expired commercial driver’s licenses issued in Canada and Mexico when those jurisdictions issue a similar notice or declaration extending the validity date of licenses and their corresponding medical certifications due to government service interruptions resulting from COVID-19.

The waiver does not apply to CDLs or CPLs that expired before March 1, 2020; a driver whose license was suspended or withdrawn for a traffic offense; or a driver who has been diagnosed with a disqualifying condition or condition requiring an exemption or Skill Performance Evaluation since receiving their last medical certificate. Also, the FMCSA reserves the right to revoke the waiver for a driver who is involved in an accident, a motor carrier that fails to report an accident or a driver who fails to comply with the waiver’s restrictions.

Additionally, the waiver only applies to CDLs and CLPs that are subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) maximum validity periods (eight years for CDLs; one year for CLPs); it does not provide relief to drivers with CDLs and CLPs issued by states that prescribe a maximum validity period shorter than the corresponding maximum period under the FMCSR.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information, please contact:

Karyn A. Booth
202.263.4108
Karyn.Booth@ThompsonHine.com

Jason D. Tutrone
202.263.4143
Jason.Tutrone@ThompsonHine.com

Additional Resources

We have assembled a firmwide multidisciplinary task force to address clients’ business and legal concerns and needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see our COVID-19 Task Force page for additional information and resources.

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