What must I do to comply with the new requirements for making my medical certification part of my CDL driving record?
Starting on January 30, 2012, when you:
You will be required to self certify to a single type of commercial operation on your driver license application form. Based on that self certification, you may need to provide your SDLA with a current medical examiner’s certificate and show any variance you may have to obtain or keep your CDL.
How do I determine which type of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operation I should self-certify to my SDLA?
For the purpose of complying with the new requirements for medical certification, it is important to know how you are using the CMV. To help you decide, follow these steps:
Step 1: Do you, or will you, use a CDL to operate a CMV in interstate or intrastate commerce?
Interstate commerce is when you drive a CMV:
Intrastate commerce is when you drive a CMV within a State and you do not meet any of the descriptions above for interstate commerce.
If you operate in both intrastate commerce and interstate commerce, you must choose interstate commerce.
Step 2: Once you decide you operate or will operate in interstate commerce or intrastate commerce, you must decide whether you operate (or expect to operate) in a non-excepted or excepted status. This decision will tell you to which of the four types of commerce you must self-certify.
You operate in excepted interstate commerce when you drive a CMV in interstate commerce only for the following excepted activities:
If you answered yes to one or more of the above activities as the only operation in which you drive, you operate in excepted interstate commerce and do not need a Federal medical examiner’s certificate.
If you answered no to all of the above activities, you operate in non-excepted interstate commerce and are required to provide a current medical examiner’s certificate (49 CFR 391.45),commonly referred to as a medical certificate or DOT card, to your SDLA. Most CDL holders who drive CMVs in interstate commerce are non-excepted interstate commerce drivers.
If you operate in both excepted interstate commerce and non-excepted interstate commerce, you must choose non-excepted interstate commerce to be qualified to operate in both types of interstate commerce.
You operate in excepted Intrastate commerce when you drive a CMV only in intrastate commerce activities for which your State of licensure has determined do not require you to meet the State’s medical certification requirements.
You operate in non-excepted intrastate commerce when you drive a CMV only in intrastate commerce and are required to meet your State of licensure’s medical certification requirements.
If you operate in both excepted intrastate commerce and non-excepted intrastate commerce, you must choose non-excepted intrastate commerce.
Step 3: Provide your SDLA with your self-certification of your operating status. If you self-certify to non-excepted interstate on or after January 30, 2012, you must provide your SDLA with either the original or copy of your current medical examiner’s certificate as required by your SDLA.
If your medical examiner’s certificate is only valid with a vision, diabetes or a skills performance evaluation variance granted by FMCSA, you may also be asked by your SDLA to provide a copy of that variance document.
What if I am an existing CDL holder who does not have a license renewal, upgrade or transfer between January 30, 2012 and January 30, 2014?
You are responsible for following the three steps above and providing your SDLA with your self-certification of operating status by January 30, 2014. If required, you must also provide your current medical examiner’s certificate and any variance document by January 30, 2014. Your SDLA will tell you how you can provide this information.
After I provide my SDLA with my unexpired medical examiner’s certificate, do I still have to carry an original or copy of my medical examiner’s certificate?
Yes. Until the program is fully implemented on January 30, 2014, you will still have to carry an original or copy of the medical examiner’s certificate and provide a copy to your employer for your driver qualification file.
What should I do with the medical examiner’s certificate beginning on January 30, 2014?
After you provide your SDLA and your employer with the medical examiner’s certificate, the medical examiner’s certificate will only be valid for the first 15 days after it was issued. Your medical examiner’s certificate will be recorded on your driving record and will become the valid version of your medical certification.
What if I do not provide my SDLA with my self-certification and if required, my medical examiner’s certificate and any required variance document by January 30, 2014?
Your SDLA will notify you that you are no longer medically certified to operate a CMV in non-excepted Interstate commerce. The SDLA will then remove all your CDL privileges from your license.
What should I do when my medical certificate and/or variance is about to expire?
You must have a new medical examination and obtain a new medical certificate. You must then provide the SDLA the new medical examiner’s certificate. You are also responsible for applying to FMCSA for a renewal of your variance.
What happens if my medical examiner’s certificate or variance expires before I provide my SDLA with a new one?
How can I get back my CDL privileges?
If the medical examiner’s certificate has expired, you must obtain a new one and provide it to your SDLA. If the variance has expired, you must renew it with FMCSA. Your State may require retesting and additional fees to get back your CDL privileges. If allowed by your SDLA, you may also change your self-certification to an operating category that does not require a medical certificate.
WASHINGTON - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a final rule that employs the latest research in driver fatigue to make sure truck drivers can get the rest they need to operate safely when on the road. The new rule by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) revises the hours-of-service (HOS) safety requirements for commercial truck drivers.
FMCSA's new HOS final rule reduces by 12 hours the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week. Under the old rule, truck drivers could work on average up to 82 hours within a seven-day period. The new HOS final rule limits a driver's work week to 70 hours.
In addition, truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Drivers can take the 30-minute break whenever they need rest during the eight-hour window.
The final rule retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit. FMCSA will continue to conduct data analysis and research to further examine any risks associated with the 11 hours of driving time.
The rule requires truck drivers who maximize their weekly work hours to take at least two nights' rest when their 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most - from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. This rest requirement is part of the rule's "34-hour restart" provision that allows drivers to restart the clock on their work week by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. The final rule allows drivers to use the restart provision only once during a seven-day period.
Companies and drivers that commit egregious violations of the rule could face the maximum penalties for each offense. Trucking companies that allow drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit by 3 or more hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.
Commercial truck drivers and companies must comply with the HOS final rule by July 1, 2013. The rule is being sent to the Federal Register today and is currently available on FMCSA's Web site at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/HOSFinalRule.
A comparison chart is available here.