As the country’s bureaucracy grinds to a halt, some commercial driver license holders have wondered when – or even if – they’ll be able to renew their licenses and medical certificates during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Oregon is one state that is taking a proactive stance on this issue.
On March 20, Oregon announced that its Department of Motor Vehicles is extending the grace period for commercial driver license holders to file updated medical examiner certificates during the COVID-19 state of emergency.
At this time, the Oregon DMV will not issue an automatic cancelation of commercial driving privileges after expiration of a driver’s medical certification. The intent is to prevent a cancellation from automatically appearing on a driver’s record, which is accessible by law enforcement officers and Oregon motor carrier enforcement officers.
This will allow CDL holders with an expired medical examiner certificate to continue to provide essential services under the emergency declaration issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
DMV normally issues an automatic cancellation 30 days after it has not received a license holder’s medical examiner certificate. However, CDL holders may not be able to schedule physical examinations at this time because of the COVID-19 response efforts. Many medical providers are unable to accept patients for non-emergency visits at this time or can only offer medical appointments several weeks out.
The grace period will remain in place until further notice or termination of the state of emergency. This move is in accordance with Gov. Kate Brown’s March 8 emergency declaration. It is part of ODOT directives aimed at easing the transportation of people and goods necessary for responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
CDL holders are still required by state and federal law to submit their certification to DMV when they are able to obtain it. They should continue to seek physician appointments and send their updated certificate to DMV as soon as possible. Medical examiner certificates can be submitted the following ways:
1. Take a picture with your smartphone or scan the certificate – email it to DMV Driver Safety Unit at: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Mail: Oregon DMV Driver Safety
1905 Lana Ave NE
Salem OR 97317
3. Fax: 503-945-5329