Drivers with expiring commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) and commercial learner’s permits (CLPs) now have three more months to renew their credentials.

While states diverted attention to the COVID-19 pandemic, many closed driver licensing agency offices. That left some truck drivers unable to renew their CDLs and CLPs or to obtain appointments from medical providers for physical examinations. In response, FMCSA temporarily waived certain licensing and medical certification regulations.

Now the agency has extended the waiver originally granted on March 24, 2020 for CDLs and CLPs due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020. Affected interstate and intrastate drivers now have until  three more months to obtain renewal of their expiring CDLs and CLPs.

FMCSA also waived the requirement that CLP holders retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests, or wait 14 days to take the CDL skills test.

Similarly, the agency extended the waiver for interstate and intrastate CDL holders, CLP holders and interstate non-CDL drivers to obtain a medical examination and certification until Sept. 30, 2020.

FMCSA’s regulations set a maximum eight-year term for CDLs. Some states, however, have adopted shorter periods before requiring CDL renewal . To assist the greatest number of CDL drivers, FMCSA issued a separate Notice of Enforcement Policy. It states that during the waiver period, the agency would not take enforcement action against any driver for operation of a commercial motor vehicle if the driver held a valid CDL on or after Feb. 29, 2020, or against any motor carrier for using such a driver.

The medical certificate waiver applies to any medical certification or required medical variance that was issued for a minimum90 days  and that expired on or after March 1, 2020. Drivers, however, must carry a paper copy of the valid, though expiring, medical certificate or variance to avoid having their status downgraded by the state driver licensing agency.

As with other waivers issued by FMCSA during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are terms, conditions and restrictions:

  • The waiver does not apply to CDLs or CLPs that expired before March 1, 2020 or to holders whose driving privileges have been suspended or withdrawn.
  • The medical certificate waiver requires drivers to carry a paper copy of their expiring certificate or variance and is not available to new drivers who have never obtained a medical certification.
  • Similarly, if a driver has developed a disqualifying medical condition or one which requires an exemption since the driver’s last examination, the medical certificate waiver will not apply.
  • Medical certifications originally valid for less than 90 days cannot take advantage of the waiver.
  • Motor carriers must notify FMCSA of any accident involving a driver operating under these waivers.