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Driver requirements
Good questions keep coming in about a variety of topics important to professional truckers. In this issue, let's discuss regulations involving driver requirements.

by Donna Ryun

N.B. writes: I am in charge of all the CDL files for my company. There is a piece of paper that our drivers are supposed to sign, and I am told that it is DOT required. When a driver is employed, I understand that his/her medical, work history and driving record is required. However, is it a DOT requirement for them to give their employer access to their personal and financial history? I have talked to a number of people and am coming up with no solid answers. I do not want my drivers signing this paper and my company is telling me that it is DOT required. Please let me know what you think.

If there is a DOT regulation that requires CDL holders to allow employers access to their personal credit history, I'd like to see it. I've searched The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, looking under Part 391, subpart C-Background and Character, specifically 391.21-Application for employment and 391.23-Investigation and inquiries. I've found no such requirement.The application section does specify a list of requirements, but access to personal information such as a driver's financial history is not on it. The closest I could come to any reference that could allow questions about such information was item (c) under subpart C, 391.21, that says a motor carrier may require an applicant to provide information in addition to the information required by the FMCSRs. This doesn't mean that the regulations require the personal information. It just says that the motor carrier can ask the questions. It doesn't mean the driver has to answer them or allow access to his or her personal information.

Since there's really no legitimate reason (of which I am aware) for a motor carrier to have a driver's credit information, I'd advise him or her to cross through any items on the application that gives the carrier permission to access this data before signing on the dotted line. If the motor carrier refuses to consider a driver's employment without access to his or her personal information, it would be wise to head for the exit and start looking for another company.

Is it a DOT requirement for driversto give their employer access to their personal and financial history?

Regarding a different subject, but still pertaining to driver regulations, an OOIDA member asks: Could you please tell me what the regulations are regarding diabetes. such as when you can drive and when you can't?

Section 391.41 (b)(5) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations states 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."If your doctor diagnoses you with diabetes, but you are able to control it with oral medication and diet, you are still eligible to drive a commercial vehicle, provided you meet the other driver qualifications.Because insulin-dependant diabetes can cause loss of consciousness, diabetic coma or insulin shock, the FMCSRs provide no provision for waiving the minimum requirement for CMV driver qualification.

There is a possibility that a person who requires the use of insulin to control his or her diabetes could qualify for an intrastate waiver in order to be able to continue driving a commercial vehicle. Since each state has its own set of guidelines regarding qualification, you should contact your state's Department of Transportation in order to check out the possibility of obtaining a waiver.

J.C.W. e-mailed me this question regarding driver disqualification: I recently lost my driving privileges due to a ticket I received while operating my personal vehicle. Can I still drive commercially if I can get a "hardship" license that allows me conditional driving privileges?

As I write this, if the offense for which you lost your driving privileges occurred in your personal vehicle, you may be allowed to continue to drive commercially provided the state agrees to issue a conditional license. However, by the time you read this, the regulation will have changed. There is an amendment pending (sec. 202 of the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1999) that would not allow the state to issue any provisional licenses or permits to a CDL holder that permits him or her to drive a commercial vehicle when the individual's driver license is revoked, suspended or canceled.