New CDL rules in effect September 2002
Aug 1, 2002 12:00 PM
A NEW rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that takes effect September 30, 2002, will significantly tighten commercial driver license (CDL) qualifications for truck drivers. The rule also mandates that all states must participate in the federal CDL Information System (CDLIS).
The rule addresses such items as non-commercial vehicle violations by a CDL holder, new major disqualifying offenses, masking of convictions, and hardship exceptions. To see the rule in its entirety, go to the “Federal Register” at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=2002_register&docid=02-18457-filed.
Here is a synopsis of the rule from FMCSA:
Seven new provisions in the regulation address disqualification for driving while suspended, disqualified, or causing a fatality; emergency disqualification of drivers posing an imminent hazard; expanded definition of serious traffic violations; extended driver record check; new notification requirements; masking prohibition; disqualification for violations obtained while driving a noncommercial motor vehicle (CMV).
The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 requires the agency to withhold Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program grant funds from the states if they do not comply with the regulation.
A new masking prohibition does not prevent a conviction from appearing on a driver's record and requires making conviction information available to authorized parties.
Applicants for an initial CDL, and those transferring or renewing a CDL, must provide state driver licensing agency personnel with the name of all states where previously licensed for the past ten years to drive any type of motor vehicle, allowing state officials to obtain an applicant's complete driving record. The final rule limits this record check to CDL drivers initially renewing their license after the effective date of this rulemaking.
States must maintain a CDL driver-history record noting an individual's convictions for state or local motor-vehicle traffic-control laws while operating any type of motor vehicle. Information on these convictions and other licensing actions must be kept a minimum of three years. Disqualifying offenses range from three years to life.
FMCSA may prohibit a state from issuing, renewing, transferring, or upgrading CDLs if the agency determined the state is in substantial noncompliance with the CDL licensing and sanctioning requirements.
Under the new regulation, a driver may apply for a CDL from another state if the state he lives in was decertified and if the other state to which he applies elects to issue that license. States are authorized, but not required, to issue nonresident CDLs to such drivers.
A CDL disqualifying offenses section was revised to show driver violations for CDL holders and a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The charts describe an offense and the ensuing penalty.
The regulations add these serious traffic violations: driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL; driving a CMV without a CDL in the driver's possession; and driving a CMV without the proper CDL and/or endorsement. Driver disqualification can result if a driver is convicted two or more times within a three-year period.
States must be connected to the CDL Information System (CDLIS) and the National Driver Register (NDR) to exchange information about CMV drivers and traffic convictions and disqualifications. A state must check CDLIS, NDR, and the current state of licensure before a CDL can be issued, renewed, upgraded, or transferred to make sure the driver is not disqualified or has a license from more than one state. Employers, including motor carriers, are authorized users of CDLIS data and, therefore, have access to an employee's or an applicant's driving record.
New notification requirements necessitate that states inform CDLIS and the state issuing the CDL no later than 10 days after disqualifying, revoking, suspending, or canceling a CDL, or refusing to allow someone for at least 60 days to operate a CMV. Beginning three years after the final rule's effective date, notification of traffic-violation convictions must occur within 30 days of the conviction. Six years after the final rule's effective date, notification of traffic-violation convictions must occur within ten days of the conviction.
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