The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration granted
exemptions to 45 truckers from the rule prohibiting people with insulin-treated
diabetes from driving trucks in interstate commerce.
On Oct.3, FMCSA published a notice of receipt of diabetes
exemption applications from the 45 individuals on the Federal Register, and requested comments from the public. The
public comment period closed on Nov 2. Four comments were received. FMCSA granted
the exemptions Monday, Nov. 20.
The 45 applicants have had insulin-treated diabetes ranging
from one to 43 years. In their applications, applicants reported no
hypoglycemic reaction that resulted in loss of consciousness or seizure that
required the assistance of another person, or resulted in impaired cognitive
function without warning symptoms in the past five years.
The exemptions from the federal rule are good for two years.
The terms and conditions of the exemption include the
That each individual submit a quarterly monitoring checklist
completed by the treating endocrinologist as well as an annual checklist with a
comprehensive medical evaluation;
That each individual reports within two business days of
occurrence, all episodes of severe hypoglycemia, significant complications or
inability to manage diabetes; also, any involvement in an accident or any other
adverse event in a CMV or personal vehicle, whether or not they are related to
an episode of hypoglycemia;
That each individual provide a copy of the ophthalmologist's
or optometrist's report to the medical examiner at the time of the annual
medical examination; and
That each individual provide a copy of the annual medical
certification to the employer for retention in the driver's qualification file,
or keep a copy in his/her driver's qualification file if he/she is
self-employed. The driver must also have a copy of the certification when
driving, for presentation to a duly authorized Federal, State, or local
The exemptions may be revoked by FMCSA for a variety of
reasons, one of which is failure to comply with the terms and conditions.
Under the current regs, exemption from the diabetes standard
may be granted if the exemption is likely to achieve an equivalent or greater
level of safety than would be achieved without the exemption. The exemption
allows an insulin-dependent trucker to operate interstate.
Recent changes in the regulation made it where
insulin-dependent truckers no longer have to prove three years of driving
experience when applying for an exemption from the FMCSA.
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
FMCSA published a notice of final disposition on the Federal
Register Nov. 8, 2005, making the elimination of the driving requirement
Now, once a trucker completes an application is complete -
and drivers and their physicians often take many months to complete an
individual application - FMCSA has a 180-day statutory requirement to provide a
decision, which includes Federal Register
publication and comment analysis.
According to an FMCSA spokesman, currently, the average time
is approximately four and one-half months, but can vary depending on the
complexity of the case.
For more information on applying for a waiver from the
diabetes standard, visit http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/medical/exemptions.htm