The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will exempt certain insulin-treated diabetic bus and truck drivers from the diabetes prohibitions in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
The new program for these exemptions will apply to drivers of commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce.
The FMCSA, which is not amending its diabetes standard, will accept applications for diabetic exemptions beginning Sept. 22.
The maximum exemption period is two years, and the agency may renew exemptions at the end of the two-year period, or after an exemption period expires.
The disease, diabetes mellitus, can on occasion, result in a loss of consciousness or orientation in time and space.
Current FMCSA safety regulations regarding diabetes state that a person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus currently requiring insulin for control.
Factors related to long-haul commercial motor vehicle operations, such as fatigue, lack of sleep, poor diet, emotional conditions, stress and concomitant illness, compound the diabetic problem.
Because of these inherent dangers, the FMCSA has consistently held that a diabetic who uses insulin for control does not meet the minimum physical requirements of the FMCSRs.
The FMCSA's decision to establish an exemption process is based on a number of factors, including studies on the effects of insulin-treated diabetes on driver performance, a review of U.S. Department of Transportation and state exemption programs and substantial medical input from a panel of endocrinologists.