The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is doing away with the exemption requirements for diabetic truckers. This ruling has the potential to give trucking companies more coverage between states to meet rising customer demands.
Restrictions on Diabetic Truckers
For the past 15 years, truck drivers living with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) have been restricted by the FMCSA. Drivers living with ITDM could not haul interstate shipments unless they applied for an exemption waiver.
Everything Changes in October
Starting on October 19th, diabetic truckers will see the restriction lifted, and will once again be able to drive interstate. Once the ruling goes into effect, diabetic truckers will need to provide three months of glucose self-monitoring records. Drivers will then be given a certificate good for one year, which will allow them to drive interstate. Once the year is up, the process to renew it is the same. For diabetic drivers who have only recently been diagnosed and do not have three months of work can get a certificate which still allows interstate driving until three months of records are available. The downside to this is that if diabetic truckers experience a severe hypoglycemic episode, they will be restricted from driving a truck and must report the episode to their doctor immediately. The restriction will stay in place until the treating clinician has determined the hypoglycemic episode has been addressed and the driver has stable records of managing ITDM. The full details of the ruling can be found in the Federal Register.
The Impact on the Trucking Industry
Diabetes has been a growing health concern within the trucking industry for a long time. The restrictions placed on truckers with ITDM placed them on the same level as teenage drivers. That is, they couldn’t drive shipments over state lines. With the current demands being placed on the trucking industry by businesses, having extra drivers to make interstate hauls would greatly ease the pressure. The recent ruling by the FMCSA could help to make supply chains run more efficiently, and give diabetic drivers opportunities to make more take-home pay from longer hauls. In this growing economy, we need fewer, not more, restrictions on the trucking industry, and this ruling may be a small step in the right direction.