Legislation and Rulemaking
In the summer of 2005, Congress passed and the President signed the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy of Users (SAFETEA-LU), which required that Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) amend the exemption program to eliminate the 3-year requirement and institute the recommendations of the Expert Medical Panel.
FMCSA did so, but at the same time it issued a notice that it would only allow those with an A1C between 7 and 10 to obtain an exemption.
Yet again, the Association went to bat to eliminate a nonsensical provision.
As of now, the provision is still on the books, but FMCSA has committed in writing to not using it as an absolute criteria.
- Public Law 109-59: The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) (PDF) — Section 4129, Operation of Commercial Motor Vehicles by Individuals Who Use Insulin to Treat Diabetes Mellitus.
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Revises Diabetes Exemption Program, (PDF) Federal Register volume 70, page 67777, Nov. 8, 2005
Read the letter to FMCSA (PDF) from Drs. Michael Brennan, George Grunberger, Edward Horton and Christopher Saudek, members of the FMCSA Diabetes Expert Medical Panel, regarding the use of an A1C requirement:
The Association issued a press release regarding the new law passed by Congress:
- "Congress Passes Transportation Legislation Affecting Commercial Drivers Who Use Insulin," (PDF) (August 1, 2005)
In conjunction with the requirements of SAFETEA-LU to conduct an evaluation of the physical qualification requirements in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and to establish a Medical Review Board to provide guidance and recommendations on this process, in March 2006 FMCSA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) (PDF) concerning possible revision to the diabetes standard.
The ANPRM announced the agency’s intention to consider amending the physical qualification standards to allow the operation of commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce by individuals with insulin-treated diabetes — without needing to first obtain an exemption from FMCSA.
The Association submitted extensive comments in response to the ANPRM:
- Comments of the American Diabetes Association on the FMCSA Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, (PDF) June 2006
In light of the MRB's recommendations to the agency, the next step is for FMCSA to undertake the rulemaking process. It is possible that it will adopt the MRB recommendations in whole or in part.
The rulemaking process will take several years, during which time the Association will continue to work to ensure that people who are qualified to drive commercial vehicles — all commercial vehicles — are allowed to do so and are not discriminated against because of diabetes.