The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

FMCSA Take Steps to Strengthen the Commercial Drivers License Program

September 18, 2001

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published three notices in the Federal Register that would affect the commercial drivers license (CDL) program. First, in the July 9 Federal Register, FMCSA published a notice that seeks comment on a pro-posed drug test results study. Under the Motor Carrier Safety Improvements Act of 1999 (MCSIA), FMCSA is required to conduct a study on the feasibility and merits of requiring Medical Review Officers (MROs) and employers to report verified positive drug test results for CDL drivers to the state that issued the driver’s license. FMCSA is soliciting comments in preparation to submit a report to Congress on the issue. The agency seeks comments on the burden such a reporting requirement would impose on employers, state licensing agencies, and others. Second, in the July 27 Federal Register, FMCSA published a notice of proposed rulemaking to implement a number of provisions of MCSIA to the CDL program. The proposal includes refine-ments to the CDL program such as: authorizing emergency CDL grants to states; withholding MCSAP funds for non-compliance; creating new disqualifications for driving while suspended or disqualified and causing a fatality; expanding records check regulations to require states to request CDL applicants’ driving records from any state that previously issued the driver a license of any kind. Third, in the July 31 Federal Register, FMCSA published a notice of intent to issue exemptions to diabetic drivers of commercial vehicles from the diabetes mellitus prohibitions contained in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). FMCSA requests comments on its proposed exemption program, and stresses that the agency is not accepting applications for exemptions at this time. If a decision to proceed with the exemption program were made, exemptions would be granted only to those applicants who meet the specific conditions and comply with all the requirements of the exemption. Exemptions would be issued for a period of two years. After the two years, those holding exemptions would need to reapply for another two-year exemption. The deadline for submitting formal comments to the FMCSA directly is Oct. 1, 2001. Copies of the original notices may be downloaded from
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