The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (ministry) has released information related to changes for Class D license holders who operate commercially in the United States (US). Effective April 1, 2017, ongoing proof of medical fitness will be required for all Class D drivers operating commercial vehicles with a Weight/Rating* of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more.
This change comes as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has identified Canadian drivers operating commercial vehicles in the US with Class D drivers licenses as needing to come into compliance with US law.
Canadian licensed commercial drivers are qualified to operate in the US if they meet all of the requirements to operate in Canada and do not have diabetes, hearing impairment or a history of epilepsy or seizures.
The FMCSA put similar requirements on Class G drivers operating commercially in the US, requiring them to obtain a medical fitness certificate by April 1st of this year.
To assist Class D drivers operating commercially in the US, the ministry has worked with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and FMCSA to provide drivers with a variety of options to obtain their medical documentation. Drivers may:
- Submit a completed FMCSA Medical Report form found at:http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca/mbs/ssb/forms/ssbforms.nsf/GetFileAttach/5080E~1/$File/5080E.pdf. The form can be completed by a physician or nurse practitioner licensed to practice in Ontario to confirm the national medical standards are met.
- Upgrade existing Class G or Class D licence to a to a higher licence class where regular medical reporting is required.
- Seek the services of a certified medical examiner in the US and be issued a medical certificate.
Commercial drivers who submit a medical report and are deemed compliant with US law will receive a Medical Confirmation Letter from the ministry. Drivers must carry this letter as proof of medical fitness at all times while operating a commercial vehicle in the US.
Enforcement officials will initiate a ‘soft enforcement’ period starting August 1, 2016. The FMCSA will encourage US enforcement officials to not issue tickets or place drivers out-of-service on the first offence; however it is unclear if tickets will be issued on subsequent offences. Offenders after the April 1, 2017 deadline will be ticketed and/or placed out of service.