As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the ability to get commercial licenses, permits, and medical cards renewed, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued another waiver.
Because the pandemic has affected state driver licensing agencies, many commercial driver’s license holders and commercial learner’s permit holders have been unable to renew those licenses or provide the required medical certificates. Some drivers are also unable to obtain appointments for physical examinations with certified medical examiners.
On March 24 and again on June 15, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration granted a waiver covering regulatory provisions affecting CDL holders, CLP holders, and non-CDL drivers. That waiver is scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, but many states are still having greater than normal employee absences or office closures as they follow social distancing guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
As a result, on Sept. 18, FMCSA issued a new waiver, extending until Dec. 31 the deadline for license renewals that originally came up for renewal on or after March 1. It also waives until Dec. 31 the requirement that CLP holders wait 14 days to take the CDL skills test.
It also waives the requirement under 49 CFR 391.45 that CDL holders, CLP holders, and non- CDL drivers have a medical examination and certification – provided that they have proof of a valid medical certification and any required medical variance that were issued for a period of 90 days or longer.
- If that medical certification was valid on Feb. 29 and expired on or after March 1 but before June 1, the requirement is waived until Oct. 31, 2020.
- If that medical certification expired on or after June 1, the requirement is waived until Dec. 31.
The order waives the requirement that in order to maintain the medical certification status of “certified,” CDL or CLP holders provide the state licensing agency with an original or copy of a subsequently issued medical examiner’s certificate and any required medical variance:
- For license holders who have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after March 1 but before June 1, the requirement is waived until Oct. 31.
- For those with proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after June 1, it is waived until Dec. 31.
The waiver is not a blanket exception to the licensing or medical card requirements. Commercial drivers must still hold a license of the type appropriate for the vehicles they are operating and must also have been deemed physically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle by a certified medical examiner.