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FMCSA Removes Red Tape for Diabetic US Truck Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a final rule that makes it easier for individuals with a stable insulin regimen and properly controlled insulin-treated diabetes mellitus to become qualified to operate a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce.

The new rule revises federal regulations which previously required drivers with insulin-treated diabetes to obtain an exemption in order to drive in interstate commerce. The action removes administrative and financial burdens for CMV operators with this type of diabetes while still maintaining a high level of safety, according to the agency.

A certified medical examiner is now able to grant an individual with ITDM a Medical Examiner’s Certificate, MCSA-5876, for up to 12 months.  To do so, the treating clinician provides an ITDM Assessment Form, MCSA-5870, to the certified examiner, indicating that the individual maintains a stable insulin regimen and proper control of his or her diabetes.  The certified medical examiner can then determine if that individual meets FMCSA’s physical qualification standards for operating a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce.

This eliminates the exemption program that currently requires drivers with ITDM to pay recurring costs to renew and maintain their exemptions. FMCSA estimates that this will save the 5,000 drivers with ITDM about $5 million total per year compared to what was required under the exemption program. The final rule will also save new ITDM exemption applicants and their associated motor carriers approximately $215,000 annually in opportunity and compliance costs related with the exemption program’s waiting period, according to the FMCSA.

For now, the policy change does not impact Canadian drivers. However, in light of the new U.S. rule, the Canadian Trucking Alliance has engaged with authorities in the U.S. and Canada about the possibility ofupdating the medical reciprocity agreement to remove insulin treated diabetes as a disqualifier for cross-border travel.

The new final rule is posted online here.

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