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Medical Exemptions are No Longer Required for Diabetic Drivers
3 mins read

DECEMBER 13, 2018 – Thousands of drivers will now have an easier time getting their medical cards thanks to a regulatory change that went into effect last month.

Drivers who have been diagnosed with diabetes are no longer required to apply for a medical exemption in order to operate a commercial motor vehicle. The exemption process, which had been in place since 2003, required drivers to submit an exemption request with the FMCSA, which would then be published in the Federal Register and made open to public comment. Once the comment period had ended, the agency would make a decision to approve or deny the request.

The entire  process took an average of 77 days to complete, though the agency had up to six months to approve each exemption. Because drivers weren’t able to operate a commercial motor vehicle during this time, many would be out of work for 2-3 months.

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The new process, which went into effect last month, allows diabetic drivers to work directly with their treating physician and a medical examiner to have their medical cards approved. These cards can be approved for up to 12 months, as which point drivers must have another DOT physical to ensure that there haven’t been any major changes in their health. As we discussed in a previous blog post about this regulatory change, drivers will need to complete the following steps each time their medical card is up for renewal:

  • Supply their treating physician with at least three months of blood glucose self-monitoring records
  • Have their physician complete an ITDM Assessment form that states they’re healthy enough to operate a CMV
  • Schedule an appointment for a DOT physical. Drivers will need to provide the medical examiner with the assessment form
  • As long as the rest of the appointment goes well, and the examiner doesn’t catch any other health issues that may compromise the driver’s ability to operate a CMV safely, a medical card will be granted

The American Diabetes Association supported the rule, calling the previous application process “long and cumbersome.”

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