Truck drivers are meeting high demands for emergency operations and the delivery of supplies to support COVID-19. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a three-month waiver modifying existing regulations, which will allow commercial learning permit (CPL) holders to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) to help meet the demand of COVID-19 operations. The waiver is effective March 28, 2020, to June 30, 2020, or until the revocation of the President’s declaration of national emergency under 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b) related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), whichever is sooner. By doing so, this will prevent the possibility of a CMV driver shortage and help transport goods and services to meet the needs of the COVID-19 emergency.
The FMCSA is waiving the requirement under 49 CFR 383.25(a)(1) that a CLP holder has to be accompanied by a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder sitting in the front seat of the vehicle while the CLP holder operates the CMV. The waiver now allows a CLP holder to operate a CMV as long as the CDL holder is somewhere else in the cab, and not necessarily sitting in the front seat. According to the FMCSA, it also “waives the restriction under 49 CFR 383.79(a) that limits a State to administering a driving skills test, in accordance with subparts F, G, and H of 49 CFR part 383, to an out of state CDL applicant who has taken driver training in that State. Under the terms, conditions, and restrictions of this waiver, a State may elect to administer a driving skills test to any out of state CDL applicant, regardless of where the applicant received driver training.”
With Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) offices remaining closed across many states during the COVID-19 stay at home restrictions, drivers who are normally able to move onto the next level of driving solo can no longer do so because they can’t obtain their CDL from the DMV. This three-month waiver helps to get much needed drivers on the road to help aid coronavirus efforts despite the inaccessibility of the DMV offices at this time. CLP holders who are operating under this waiver must have passed their CDL driving skills test. They must also carry with them, in the vehicle, evidence from either a State Driver Licensing Agency (SDLA) or authorized third-party tester that they passed the test, in addition to their non-CDL driver’s license and CPL.
According to the FMCSA, this waiver does not apply to a CPL holder:
The FMCSA also states that:
- Date of the accident;
- City or town, and State in which the accident occurred, or closest to the accident scene;
- Driver's name and license number;
- Vehicle number and State license number;
- Number of individuals suffering physical injury;
- Number of fatalities;
- The police-reported cause of the accident (if available at time of the report); and
- Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, or motor carrier safety regulations.
During this time of uncertainty, it’s vital that employers get the most recent news and regulation changes to continue operating safely and efficiently. DISA Global Solutions offers professional guidance from industry experts to help you maintain compliance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While the transportation industry continues to change, sometimes on very short notice, our experts will ensure that you stay in the loop and assist you with your transportation compliance needs. Regardless of the DOT agency you report to, we can offer assistance with FAA, FRA, FTA, FMCSA, PHMSA, and USCG and our DOT mandated services include:
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