Diabetes ecemption for interstaet truck driversA recent rule change from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) now allows truck drivers with properly-controlled insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) to operate an interstate commercial motor vehicle (CMV) without having to get a Federal exemption. The rule change enables certified medical examiners to begin granting medical cards to truck drivers who provide them an assessment form (MCSA-5870) from their treating healthcare professionals within 45 days. The insulin diabetic driver must have a clear understanding of their disease, and the signs and symptoms to watch for that would impair driving.  The form must show that the driver’s ITDM is under stable, proper control without any disqualifying factors:

  • Any episode of severe hypoglycemia within the previous 3 months. (“Severe” hypoglycemic episodes are defined as hypoglycemia that requires the assistance of others or results in loss of consciousness, seizure, or coma.)
  • Uncontrolled diabetes, as evidence by HgA1C greater than 10%
  • Severe non‐proliferative diabetic retinopathy or proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
  • Signs of diabetic complications or target organ damage.
  • Inadequate record of self‐monitoring blood glucose.

Drivers with ITDM who were listed in good standing as part of a March 1996 waiver study program will have until Nov. 19, 2019, to comply with the final rule change.

The FMCSA holds that drivers with properly-treated ITDM show no greater safety risk than drivers who treat the condition with oral medication or who do not have it at all.

The prior exemption requirement compelled medical examiners to automatically disqualify all drivers having diabetes mellitus insulin treated to manage their condition. Drivers who effectively treated their condition faced up to several months of waiting before receiving an FMCSA exemption. The medical cards can cover a driver for up to 12 months. To issue the cards, medical examiners must be listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

For more information on the diabetes rule change, please visit the FMCSA.

For an easy-to-read FAQ sheet about the diabetes rule change, please visit the American Diabetes Association.