FMCSA Issued Waiver in Response to COVID-19 National Emergency

According to the waiver, which took effect on March 1, 2021, the Agency allows (but does not require mandatorily) the US authorities to extend the validity of commercial driver's licenses and commercial learner's permits and also to exempt drivers from several other rules, until May 31, 2021.

The previous waiver was issued on December 15, 2020. Its term ended on February 28. In connection with the continuation of the emergency regarding COVID-19, FMCSA decided to extend the exemptions. Due to the situation in the country, many government agencies work fewer hours than usual. There is also a shortage of employees and the closure of many offices that deal with driver licensing. States are returning to business as usual at different rates. 

Hence, some reasons prevent commercial drivers from completing the necessary documents on time, including CDLs, CLPs, medical certificates, etc. Some drivers are not even able to make an appointment for a medical check-up. However, there is an urgent need in the country in an emergency to transport necessities, medical supplies, medicines, equipment, and others. That is why this waiver has a positive effect on the situation in the country.

Thus, FMCSA allows but does not demand the following:

  • Extending CDL validity beyond the 8-year maximum validity period;
  • Extending CLP validity beyond the one-year maximum validity period, while not requiring holders to re-pass the general and confirmatory knowledge tests;
  • Permission for CLP holders to take a CDL skill test without waiting 14 days after the initial issuance of the CLP;
  • Eliminating the requirements for CDL and CLP holders, and non-CDL drivers to undergo a medical examination and obtain a certificate, provided they have proof of a valid medical certificate and any required medical document issued for a period of least 90 days and expired on December 1, 2020, and later.
  • Eliminating the requirements for drivers to provide the SDLA with an original or a copy of a subsequently issued forensic certificate.

Also, the FMCSA continues to recognize the validity of driver's licenses issued by Canadian provinces and territories and federal licenses.

By Denis Kirston
03 / 03 / 2021
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