Federal agencies Bus/limo/taxi Trucking Transportation

FMCSA releases final rule lifting exemptions for truck drivers with diabetes

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Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a final rule intended to ease restrictions on commercial motor vehicle drivers whose insulin-treated diabetes mellitus is under control, according to a notice published in the Sept. 19 Federal Register.

The rule is scheduled to go into effect Nov. 19. Drivers with ITDM who were listed in good standing as part of a March 1996 waiver study program are exempt until Nov. 19, 2019.

The rule allows drivers with the condition to operate CMVs by obtaining annual clearance from a medical examiner listed in the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Previously, those drivers were required to obtain exemptions from FMCSA every two years.

FMCSA proposed the rule in May 2015. Two months later, the agency’s Medical Review Board considered comments on the proposal from medical professionals and labor and trade associations. A subsequent report offered recommendations for helping CMV drivers with ITDM remain safe on the road.

In the final rule, FMCSA acknowledges conflicting opinions in the comments about the report’s recommendations, but ultimately concludes that “the crash risk posed by ITDM individuals who maintain a stable insulin regimen and proper control of their diabetes is very low in general.”

Additionally, FMCSA officials tout the anticipated financial benefits from removing the regulatory exemption process.

“This final action delivers economic savings to affected drivers and our agency, and streamlines processes by eliminating unnecessary regulatory burdens and redundancy,” FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez said in a Sept. 19 press release. “It’s a win-win for all parties involved.”

Comments on the final rule are due Nov. 19.

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