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U.S., CANADA REACH AGREEMENT ON COMMERCIAL DRIVER CONDITIONS

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking

U.S., CANADA REACH AGREEMENT ON COMMERCIAL DRIVER CONDITIONS

Federal Highway Administration
January 29, 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 29, 1999
Contact: David Longo
Tel.: 202-366-0456
FHWA 6-99

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."

Wykle said that the two 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 requirements.

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