Six truckers apply for exemption from diabetes standard

| 12/19/2005

For the first time since FMCSA said it was no longer requiring a three-year driving requirement, six truckers have applied for exemptions from the diabetes standard.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a notice on the Federal Register, Monday, Dec. 19, announcing that six individuals were seeking the exemptions. If granted, the exemptions will allow the truckers with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus to drive interstate.

An exemption can be granted for a two-year period if FMCSA finds “such exemption would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.” The agency can renew the exemption at the end of the two-year period.

Insulin treated diabetics must now prove control of their Type 1 diabetes for 60 days and Type 2 diabetes for 30 days in order to qualify for an exemption, according to the recently enacted highway funding legislation.

According to the Federal Register, all six of the exemption applicants state they have not had “hypoglycemic reactions resulting in the loss of consciousness, requiring in the assistance of another person, or resulting in impaired cognitive function that occurred without warning in the past five years.”

Before the highway funding legislation was enacted into law, all of these applicants would have also been required to have three years driving requirement. However, the highway funding legislation directed FMCSA to eliminate this driving requirement.

FMCSA abolished the previously three-year requirement in November. FMCSA published a notice of final disposition on the Federal Register Nov. 8 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.”

Comments will be accepted on the exemption requests until Jan. 18, 2006.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor