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FMCSA Paves the Way for Diabetic Truck Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a final update to their ruling regarding diabetic drivers. Prior to this change, FMCSA barred any driver with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). These individuals could apply for an exemption, but the process was lengthy and frustrating for drivers.

Eliminating Exemptions for Diabetic Drivers

The new ruling allows certified medical examiners to clear drivers with ITDM to operate a CMV up to one year before needing to recertify. The medical examiner in question must be the prescribing physician to ensure familiarity with the driver’s health. Medical examiners can only issue a qualified driver status if the driver’s diabetes is under control. This means the individual needs to have a consistent insulin regimen and can remain in stable condition. This change in regulation is an appreciated one for drivers with ITDM. FMCSA estimates that about 5000 of its truck drivers have ITDM and that the updated ruling will save them and their associated carriers $5 million each year.

Drivers aren’t the only ones saving money, either. FMCSA estimates they will save around $1 million per year over the next three years by not having to process exemption paperwork. Carriers and new ITDM exemption applicants will also save $215,000 per year in compliance costs linked to the lengthy waiting period for the exemption program. In his own words, Raymond Martinez, an FMCSA administrator, explained the financial impetus behind the change:

This final action delivers economic savings to affected drivers and our agency and streamlines processes by eliminating unnecessary regulatory burdens and redundancy. It’s a win-win for all parties involved.

Easing the Driver Shortage

Another benefit of alleviating driver restrictions is an increase in qualified CMV drivers. The trucking industry is struggling with an ongoing driver shortage so any additional CMV operators are welcome. To stay up to date with the latest safety initiatives affecting truck drivers, contact the experts at Encompass Risk Solutions.

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