On Saturday, March 28, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued another waiver in response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. More specifically, the FMCSA is providing a “three-month waiver from certain regulations applicable to commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).”
Effective as of March 28, the waiver is designed to avoid a possible shortage of commercial drivers needed to transport goods related to the COVID-19 emergency. The announcement comes at a time when many states have reduced staff or closed their State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As a result, these SDLAs may not be able to process or issue commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) to any eligible CLP holders.
What Does the FMCSA Waiver Cover for CLP Drivers?
The waiver provides flexibility for CLP drivers to operate a CMV in the event that their specific SDLA cannot issue a CDL. Through this waiver the FMCSA also grants states with the ability to test CLP holders who have a base license issued by a different state. Should a driver using the waiver be involved in an accident, the waiver dictates that his or her fleet must make the FMCSA aware of the accident within five days.
More specifically, the waiver:
Allows CLP holders to operate a CMV in intra- or interstate commerce when the accompanying CDL holder, with the proper class and endorsements, is in the sleeper berth of the cab, instead of in the jump seat. To be eligible, the CLP holder must have evidence from the testing jurisdiction, including an authorized third-party tester, that they passed the CDL skills test and have a valid CLP and medical certificate. FMCSA’s March 24, 2020 waiver, and related enforcement notice, applies if the CLP or medical certificate expired on or after March 1, 2020.
Permits states to administer CDL skills tests to CLP holders domiciled in other states.
It is also important to note which types of drivers or vehicles that this waiver does not apply to. This includes vehicles that require double/triple, passenger, tank, hazmat, or school bus endorsements. The waiver also does not apply to any drivers who have been deemed an imminent hazard or have been previously disqualified to operate a CMV.
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