Stricter CDL regs

| June 07, 2008

The FMCSA rulemaking proposes tougher documentation requirements, as well as for states to recognize commercial learner’s permits issued by other states.

Commercial driver’s license and commercial learner’s permit applicants would be required to provide more documentation of their legal presence in the United States under a notice of proposed rulemaking published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The agency also would require that CDL applicants first obtain a CLP and would mandate additional background checks of CDL applicants by state issuers. To tighten the rules on legal presence, state driver’s license agencies would be required to verify the applicant’s Social Security number with the Social Security Administration.

Many of the proposal’s elements respond to provisions of recent federal highway and security legislation and are covered by the Department of Homeland Security’s final rule implementing the REAL ID Act. FMCSA said it has coordinated its efforts with DHS to avoid overlapping or conflicting requirements, but further harmonizing may be required before the rule is final.

One problem for employers has been the failure of some states to recognize driver training in another state. The notice would require states to recognize CLPs issued by other states for training purposes. It also would limit the initial and renewal periods for both CLPs and CDLs and clarify under what circumstances an applicant must surrender those licenses or permits.

Successful completion of the knowledge test would be required before a CLP is issued, and the proposal incorporates by reference the latest American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators’ Model Test package for knowledge and skill standards. To reduce the potential for fraud, FMCSA proposes to ban the use of foreign-language interpreters in the administration of the knowledge and skills tests.

Comments on the proposal are due June 9. For a copy of the notice, visit www.regulations.gov and search Docket No. FMCSA-2007-27659.
- Avery Vise


FMCSA Advisers Want Apnea Testing
The Medical Review Board of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has recommended that CDL holders with a body mass index of 30 or higher be referred for sleep apnea testing. An agency spokesman emphasized it is only a recommendation.

The FMCSA has the choice of acting on such recommendations in whole, in part or not at all, and there is no timetable for such responses, said Duane DeBruyne, FMCSA deputy director. Moreover, anything the agency pursues would have to go through a formal process of publication and public comment, DeBruyne said.

The board voted 4-1 for the recommendation at its Jan. 28 meeting, minutes of which were not approved until April 7.

Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that interrupts a person’s breathing during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly while sleeping. Besides sleeplessness and fatigue, sleep apnea can cause excessive snoring, acid reflux and other health problems, and it can aggravate any existing heart or lung trouble.

Certain physical features, such as excessive weight, are common to people with sleep apnea, although people who aren’t obese can suffer it as well. A BMI of 30 or greater – 220 pounds for a 6-foot-tall person – puts people at risk for developing obesity-related medical conditions such as sleep apnea. Nearly a third of Americans are obese.

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