Federal Update
FMCSA eliminates driving criterion from diabetes exemption process

By Jami Jones
senior editor

Insulin-dependent truckers will no longer have to prove three years of driving experience when applying for an exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Language in federal highway funding legislation instructed FMCSA to eliminate the three-year driving requirement that kept nearly all insulin-using truckers sidelined to intrastate driving.

Agency officials confirmed to Land Line in October 2005 that FMCSA had eliminated the three-year driving requirement.

FMCSA published a notice of final disposition on the Federal Register Nov. 8, 2005, making the elimination of the driving requirement official.

"FMCSA will immediately discontinue use of the three-year criterion for drivers with (insulin-treated diabetes mellitus)," the notice stated. "Applications from drivers with ITDM will no longer be denied because the drivers do not have three years of experience operating (commercial motor vehicles), while using insulin.

"FMCSA will also no longer require submission of a driving record in order to determine exemption eligibility."

Section 4129 of the Highway Bill, which was signed into law in August 2005, clearly instructed FMCSA to eliminate the requirement of commercial driving either 90 days after the bill was enacted or upon the issuance of the revised final rule, whichever was earlier.

The legislation mandates that insulin-dependent truckers face an individual assessment and prove a period of control before being released to drive interstate. Type 1 diabetics will be subject to a period of no more than 60 days of control and Type 2 diabetics will be subject to a period of no more than 30 days.

Rick Craig, OOIDA's director of regulatory affairs, said FMCSA officials confirmed that truckers who had previously applied for the diabetes exemption are being mailed notices of the changes to the criteria.