U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Longo
U.S., Canada Reach Agreement on Commercial Driver Conditions
In a step that will improve safety and enhance the free flow of highway commerce
under the North American Free Trade Agreement, the United States and Canada
have reached agreement on reciprocity of the medical fitness requirements for
drivers of commercial motor vehicles. The agreement takes effect March 30, 1999.
"Safety is President Clinton's highest transportation priority, and this agreement
demonstrates our safety commitment in action," Federal Highway Administrator
Kenneth R. Wykle said. "Under the President's and Vice President's leadership,
we are working closely and cooperatively with our Canadian neighbors to ensure
motor carriers operate safely on our nation's highways."
The countries have determined that the medical provisions of U.S. Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and the Canadian National Safety Code (NSC) are equivalent.
However, Canadian drivers who are insulin-using diabetics, who are hearing-impaired,
or who have epilepsy will not be permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles
(CMVs) in the United States because U.S. regulations prohibit those individuals
from operating CMVs in the United States.
Likewise, commercial motor vehicle drivers who do not meet the requirements
of their country's regulations and have been granted a waiver, exemption, or
grandfather rights, will not be able to operate CMVs in the neighboring country.
The United States and Canada agreed to notify affected drivers by letter that
they will not be able to drive a CMV in trans-border operations.
The United States and Canada have agreed to adopt an international licensing
code, to be displayed on the license and the driving record, to identify commercial
drivers who are not qualified to operate outside the borders of their country.
This code will be mutually agreed upon before April 1, 2000, and implemented
in both countries before April 1, 2002.
The two countries will recognize the Canadian commercial driver's license
as proof of medical fitness to drive, thus eliminating the requirement for Canadian
drivers to obtain a U.S. medical examiner's certificate. If the United States
adopts a proposal to merge medical fitness determinations with the licensing
process, Canada has agreed that it, too, will recognize the U.S. commercial
driver's license as proof of medical fitness to drive. U.S. truck drivers now
must show their CDL as well as proof of medical fitness to Canadian authorities
at the border.
In a 1991 memorandum of understanding, the United States and Mexico granted
reciprocity between the Mexican Licencia Federal and the U.S. commercial driver's
license. The 1991 memorandum includes recognition by the United States that
Mexican truck drivers who possess a Licencia Federal also meet U.S. medical
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