CDL changes causing headaches for some drivers

CDL changes causing headaches for some drivers

Posted: Updated:
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Time is running out for commercial drivers to comply with new federal regulations.

Truck drivers have only two more weeks to meet the deadline or risk having their driving privileges suspended, and that's causing a log jam of last-minute applicants.

Some have been unable to submit the required information because the Department of Public Safety's system is too busy.

The new federal regulation is called the Commercial Driver's License Medical Card Merger.

Commercial drivers are required to pass a medical exam and be deemed qualified to drive. The idea is to put drivers' medical information in a digital system that law enforcement officers can access with a swipe of their driver's license.

But drivers feel like they're hitting a road block this month trying to submit that information to the Department of Public Safety.

DPS says commercial drivers around the state were notified well in advance of the deadline, and about 65 percent of CDL holders went ahead and submitted the data in a timely manner.

Sgt. Steve Jarrett with the Department of Public Safety says this log jam is the result of procrastination.

"Those commercial driver's license holders had two years to submit this data to DPS," Jarrett said.

Jarrett says two years ago, the Department of Public Safety started working with the Alabama Trucking Association and large trucking companies and posted the information on the DPS website and social media to get the word out.

He says the last minute flood is taxing DPS's phone lines and fax system. He's asking CDL holders to be patient.

The Alabama Trucking Association believes part of the problem is drivers are required to renew their medical qualification every two years. That means some drivers who had already complied had to re-submit their new information while others were going through the process for the first time.

Alabama has more than 187,000 commercial drivers. About 121,000 of them have complied.

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