Management & Operations

CDL final rule toughens penalties against bad drivers

Posted on August 1, 2002

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a final rule Wednesday that significantly strengthens the licensing and sanctioning requirements of the commercial driver's license (CDL) program for truck and bus drivers required to hold a CDL. "These comprehensive requirements for those who want to drive trucks and buses will help ensure that our highways are safer," U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said. Within three years after the rule's effective date, Sept. 30, 2002, the FMCSA will penalize states not in substantial compliance with licensing and sanctioning requirements of the CDL program by withholding Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program money. That fund provides financial assistance to states through federal grants. As a result of the final rule, the FMCSA may now disqualify commercial motor vehicle drivers who have been convicted of traffic violations while operating a passenger vehicle that result in their license being canceled, revoked or suspended, or of committing drug and alcohol-related offenses while driving a passenger vehicle. Also included in the final rule are requirements that applicants obtaining, transferring, or renewing a CDL tell their state driver-licensing agency where they previously held motor vehicle licenses. This enables the issuing agency to obtain a candidate's complete driving record. To find more information on additional requirements of the FMCSA's final rule log on at and search for docket numbers FMCSA-2001-9709 and FMCSA-00-7382.

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