FMCSA exempts diabetic drivers with three years’ experience

| 9/5/2003

Starting Sept. 22, drivers with insulin-dependent diabetes can apply to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for an exemption from medical restrictions first put in place in 1970.

A description of requirements under the revised rules appears in the Sept. 3 issue of the Federal Register (Vol. 68, No. 170, Page 52441).

Under the revised rules, applicants must have a valid intrastate CDL and must have operated a CMV while using insulin to control a diabetic condition for the three years immediately preceding the application.

“The three-year requirement of the program provides certainty to public safety, and also protects drivers (who take insulin),” FMCSA said. “The ability to operate CMVs safely for three years clearly helps to indicate that applicants can perform the arduous work required in this type of job category.”

FMCSA said the three-year requirement would restrict the number of drivers eligible for an exemption. However, it added, “The agency has no desire to make the program more stringent than necessary and will therefore leave this docket open indefinitely in order to provide a means for the submission of additional views and data on the need for three years of driving experience.”

Exemption conditions

The three-year driving record can't have any suspensions or revocation, no convictions for disqualifying offenses, no more than one serious traffic violation, and no accidents where the applicant contributed to the cause or received a citation for a moving violation.

Applicants cannot have other disqualifying medical conditions and must provide certification that the driver meets diabetes-related qualifications.

Exempt drivers also must maintain a daily record of actual driving time to correlate with daily glucose measurements. They will be required to check glucose before starting to drive and take any needed corrective action.

In addition, exempted drivers must provide quarterly reports of their medical condition and monitoring devices and will have to undergo annual evaluations by an endocrinologist and an ophthalmologist or optometrist. They will be required to report any diabetes-related medical problems to FMCSA and report any involvement in an accident whether or not it is diabetes related.