FMCSA Tightens CDL Rule

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Washington, D.C., recently issued new commercial driver's license (CDL) requirements, making it tougher for truck drivers with prior violations to obtain and renew licenses, and increasing violator sanctions.

The rule, which takes effect September 30, states that unsatisfactory CDL holders will be suspended or disqualified for new offenses and serious traffic violations within three years after its effective date. The rule also disqualifies commercial drivers convicted of drug, alcohol and other serious traffic offenses that occurred while driving a commercial or passenger vehicle. And, commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers who do not have a CDL or had their license revoked, do not have a CDL in their possession, do not have the proper CDL or endorsement, or caused a fatality through negligent or criminal operation, will be considered violators. Drivers also may be disqualified if they are convicted two or more times within a three-year period.

“Society will benefit, and truck-related crashes should decrease because of this [rule],” says Suzy Bohnert, spokeswoman for the FMCSA. “Our new requirements support the Bush administration's goal to reduce the number of truck-related fatalities.”

Applicants for an initial CDL and those transferring or renewing a CDL must provide a list of all states in which they have been licensed in the past 10 years. The rule limits this record check to CDL drivers initially renewing their licenses after September 30.

“The rule is intended to tighten up some of the CDL requirements … to get unsafe drivers off the road,” says Chaz Miller, director of state programs for the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA), Washington, D.C. “It's generally not a controversial rule.”

View the rule (FMCSA-2001-9709 and FMCSA-00-7382) at