GAWDA Safety Alert: CDL Med Card Waiver; D&A Testing

Safety Alert (March 26, 2020)

This GAWDA Safety Alert is issued to inform GAWDA members of updates and notifications relevant to COVID-19.  (Click here to download a copy of the Safety Alert.)

CDL Med Card Waiver
D&A Testing

I. FMCSA Issues Waiver of Expired CDLs, Driver Medical Certifications

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a waiver of Commercial Driver’s Licenses, Learner’s Permits and commercial motor vehicle medical certifications that expired on or after March 1, 2020. These licenses and medical cards will remain valid through June 30, 2020.

Although it is ultimately up to the State Driver Licensing Agencies to determine whether a CDL has expired, all States are expected to follow this FMCSA waiver.

But the waiver for expired CDLs does not include a driver’s Hazardous Materials Endorsement. (GAWDA Consultants apologize for giving incorrect information about this on yesterday’s consultant webinar.) The Transportation Security Administration, which sets the standards for HMEs and background checks, is apparently aware of this issue and is working on a solution. TSA has provided some basic advice about its Enrollment Centers.

In addition, TSA has posted the following FAQs on HMEs:

Q: Should I expect a delay to receive my Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) approval?

A: For HME applicants, while there is no impact to TSA adjudications, issuance of a HME on a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) will vary by state. Many driver’s license agencies are closing, require an appointment, or reducing hours of operations. HME applicants should check with their state for potential impacts. If you have already enrolled, there should be no additional delay as TSA adjudications are still being processed.

Q: Where can I obtain information about the COVID-19 impact on commercial motor vehicle administrations and operations?

A: For information, please visit the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ( and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (

Q: How does a stakeholder communicate with TSA regarding the HME program and COVID-19 questions?

A: Please visit the TSA website ( for the latest information regarding TSA’s response to COVID-19. For information on HME, please visit the TSA HME website ( for program-specific guidance and Frequently Asked Questions to address important questions. Please encourage stakeholders to e-mail with specific questions.

II. DOT Issues Update on Drug and Alcohol Testing

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have issued guidance on compliance with drug and alcohol testing regulations for employers, employees, and service agents during the COVID-19 emergency. The guidance is in effect through June 30, 2020.

Recommended actions for FMCSA-regulated employers unable to conduct:

· Random Testing – You are required by 49 CFR 382.305(k) to ensure that the dates for administering random alcohol and controlled substances tests are spread reasonably throughout the calendar year. DOT guidance further recommends that you perform random selections and tests at least quarterly.

For further guidance see

If, due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 national emergency, you are unable to perform random selections and tests sufficient to meet the random testing rate for a given testing period in order to achieve the required 50% rate for drug testing, and 10% for alcohol testing, you should make up the tests by the end of the year. You should document in writing the specific reasons why you were unable to conduct tests on drivers randomly selected, and any actions taken to locate an alternative collection site or other testing resources.

· Pre-Employment Testing – If you are unable to conduct a pre-employment controlled substances test, in accordance with 49 CFR 382.301(a), you cannot allow a prospective employee to perform DOT safety sensitive functions until you receive a negative pre-employment test result, unless the exception in 49 CFR 382.301(b) applies.

· Post-Accident Testing – You are required to test each driver for alcohol and controlled substances as soon as practicable following an accident as required by 49 CFR 382.303. However, if you are unable to administer an alcohol test within 8 hours following the accident, or a controlled substance test within 32 hours following the accident, due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 national emergency, you must document in writing the specific reasons why the test could not be conducted, as currently required. See 49 CFR 382.303(d) and FMCSA Guidance at:

· Reasonable suspicion testing – You should document in writing the specific reasons why the test could not be conducted as required; include any efforts you made to mitigate the effect of the disruption, such as trying to locate an alternative collection site. This documentation should be provided in addition to the documentation of the observations leading to a test, as required by 49 CFR 382.307(f). Follow current regulations addressing situations in which reasonable suspicion testing is not conducted, set forth in 49 CFR 382.307(e)(1), (2).

· Return-to-duty (RTD) testing – In accordance with 49 CFR 40.305(a), you must not allow the driver to perform any safety-sensitive functions, as defined in 49 CFR 382.107, until the RTD test is conducted and there is a negative result.

· Follow-up testing – If testing cannot be completed, you should document in writing the specific reasons why the testing could not be conducted as in accordance with the follow-up testing plan; you should include any efforts you made to mitigate the effect of the disruption, such as trying to locate an alternative collection site. You should conduct the test as soon as practicable.

For CDL Drivers:

Please follow the ODAPC guidance, as set forth below, and available at

· If you are experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms, you should contact your medical provider and, if necessary, let your employer know about your availability to perform work.
· If you have COVID-19-related concerns about testing, you should discuss them with your employer. FMCSA joins ODAPC in suggesting that employers respond to employee concerns in a sensitive and respectful way.

As a reminder, it is the employer’s responsibility to evaluate the circumstances of what may be considered an employee’s refusal to test and determine whether or not the employee’s actions should be considered a refusal as per 49 CFR § 40.355(i).

This GAWDA DOT Safety Alert is issued by GAWDA Consultant Rick Schweitzer, Esq. Please contact Rick for further information.

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