FMCSA Lengthens Certification Windows for COVID-19
Unless you have been living under a rock, you are no doubt aware of the hours-of-service exemption for hauling related to the pandemic that has permeated the trucking industry for about 15 months now. Less talked about but just as important is the other waiver for Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP), and medical certification renewal. This second exemption is also being extended; this time it is being extended until the end of August 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic has created a strong demand for many goods to be shipped across the country, ranging from toilet paper in the early days of the pandemic, to hand sanitizer and face masks in the middle, to vaccines today. Because of this increased demand there needs to be more truckers to ship the goods. Rules regarding COVID-19 have made renewing some paperwork difficult; it is hard to practice social distancing in the same cab.
As a result, drivers who had a valid CDL, CLP, or medical certification on February 29th, 2020 are able to continue hauling related goods, regardless if their certifications are about to expire or already have in the past fifteen months.
Considering the largest window for CDLs is eight years, this means that more than 12.5% of drivers pandemic goods are protected under the waiver.
If you are interested in more details, you can read about them on the FMCSA’s official declaration. As always, the exemption does not carry every scenario. A driver who has had their license withdrawn for traffic offenses or has suffered an injury that would disqualify them from operating a commercial motor vehicle cannot claim protection under this waiver because their license would have otherwise been expired.
It is currently unknown if the waiver will be extended beyond the end of August, but as it was extended four times before, it is a safe bet to assume that it will be if the pandemic continues to that point in time.
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