The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended the waivers for renewals of interstate and intrastate commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), commercial learner’s permits (CLPs) and medical cards to Feb. 28, 2021.
Drivers with CDLs, CLPs or medical cards who were granted a waiver from renewal deadlines in 2020 must renew and have them in place for commercial vehicle operations beginning March 1, 2021.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of many state licensing offices and medical facilities, FMCSA gave relief on March 24, 2020 to professional drivers whose CDLs, permits and/or medical cards had expired or were set to expire after March 1, 2020.
The waiver extended renewal deadlines for those credentials to June 30. FMCSA already extended these waivers twice, with the most recent extension for CDLs and permits ending Dec. 31. The medical certificate extensions ended either Oct. 31 or Dec. 31, depending upon the medical card’s original date of expiration.
FMCSA has continued relief from specific hours of service regulations through Feb. 28, 2021 for the transportation of COVID-19 relief supplies, adding vaccines, their components and supplies to the list of COVID relief commodities. Now FMCSA has set the same date of Feb. 28, 2021 for compliance with licensing and medical certificate renewals.
Here are the specific extensions made by FMCSA.
CDLs and CLPs:
- Waive until Feb. 28, 2021 the renewal deadline for CDLs that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
- Waive until Feb. 28, 2021 the renewal deadline for CLPs that expired on or after March 1, 2020, without requiring the CLP holders to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests.
- Waive until Feb. 28, 2021 the requirement that CLP holders wait 14 days to take the CDL skills test.
- Waive until Feb. 28, 2021 the requirement 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 expired on or after Sept. 1, 2020.
- Waive the requirement that, in order to maintain the medical certification status of “certified,” CDL or CLP holders provide the state driver licensing agency with an original or copy of a subsequently issued medical examiner’s certificate and any required medical variance, provided that they have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after Sept. 1, 2020.
Motor carriers and truck drivers should closely review this waiver extension to make sure they meet all terms, conditions, and restrictions are met. For example:
- The extension of the medical card deadline to Feb.. 28, 2021 does not apply to medical certificates issued for less than 90 days or to drivers who never obtained a medical certificate.
- Until renewal, drivers must still carry a paper copy of their expired medical certificates.
- Drivers under legal suspension or disqualification of driving privileges are not eligible for these waiver extensions.
Time is of the essence. Many state driver licensing offices are still experiencing backlogs or limiting in-person visits. Similarly, many physician facilities are only serving patients who have an immediate medical need. FMCSA may not extend waivers for CDLs and medical cards beyond Feb. 28, 2021, so act now.