Whatever the political headlines of the day, federal agencies continue to add new trucking regulations, adopt new forms and extend or discontinue previous waivers and exemptions. In this series, “Trucking Things to Know Now,” PrePass provides quick updates on regulatory developments, often with links to more information.

State permitted to extend CDL/CLP renewals to Feb. 28, 2022.  While trucking eyes were focused on the extension of the COVID-19 hours of service waivers, when providing direct relief assistance, to Feb. 28, 2022, FMCSA in a separate action also gave permission for states to extend the renewal dates for commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) and commercial learner’s permits (CLPs) due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2022, subject to certain restrictions. That decision is up to the states, so motor carriers and drivers should contact their state driver licensing agency.

Medical exams extended to Feb. 28, 2022 for certain drivers.  That same FMCSA action also waives until Feb. 28, 2022, the requirement that CDL holders, CLP holders, and non-CDL drivers have a medical examination and certification, provided they have proof of a valid medical certification and any required medical variance issued for a period of 90 days or longer which expired on or after Sept. 1, 2021. The CDL/CLP renewal extension is discretionary with the states. The medical exam extension is not.

Third-party CDL skills test examiner requirements extended.  FMCSA has waived until Feb. 28, 2022 the requirement that certain third-party CDL skills test examiners first complete a CDL knowledge test training course before being authorized by a state. This waiver applies to third party-skills test examiners who have maintained a valid CDL test examiner certification and have previously completed a CDL skills test examiner training course that satisfies the federal regulations.

Some CLP restrictions lifted through Feb. 28, 2022.  CLP holders may operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) without a properly licensed CDL holder alongside in the front seat, so long as the CDL holder is elsewhere in the truck cab. Certain restrictions apply. FMCSA will not take an enforcement action against CLP holders for operation, or against motor carriers for allowing the operation of a CMV without a CDL holder present in the front seat of the vehicle. This is provided the CLP driver is in possession of evidence from the testing jurisdiction, including an authorized third-party tester, that the CLP holder has passed the CDL driving skills test, and, has a valid non-CDL driver’s license, CLP, and medical certificate, unless the FMCSA waiver on expiring CDLs and medical certificates applies.

New FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rules in effect.  The FMCSA rule requiring states to downgrade CDLs and CLPs within 60 days of the notification of a drug or alcohol violation went into effect Nov. 8, 2021. FMCSA has sent out reminders to states and to motor carriers of the changes in law brought about by that rulemaking. For motor carriers, that reminder notes that if a CDL driver’s employer is aware that the driver received a traffic citation for driving a CMV while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, the employer must report this to the Clearinghouse as actual knowledge of prohibited use of drugs or alcohol.

Know the rules before seeking an overweight permit.  Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and California Governor Gavin Newsom, in an effort to ease port congestion, recently announced agreement for that state to issue temporary overweight permits allowing trucks to haul up to 88.000 pounds on state highways when transporting containers from California ports to shipper facilities and distribution centers there. “Heavy haulers” in the trucking industry know the ins and outs of permits well: overweight permits not only have a maximum gross weight limit but may also impose length, axle weight and bridge formula restrictions that can effectively require special equipment. While California may allow overweight permit operations on state highways, there could be further limits or routing restrictions on the county roads and city streets needed to reach destination. Know the rules first; truck size and weight violations count against a carrier’s CSA scores and can jeopardize qualifying for bypass programs like PrePass.

Read the previous installment of “Trucking Things to Know Now: Federal Regulatory Updates.”