COVID-19 CDL FAQs

Posted on Mar 27, 2020 in
The following is a Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQs) discussion on the State of Hawaii’s COVID-19 emergency procedures as it relates to drivers of commercial motor vehicles.  The temporary interim procedures established is in accordance with the Governor’s Supplementary to the Emergency Proclamation signed on March 16, 2020 and subsequent proclamations relating to the COVID-19 emergency that temporarily suspend specific Hawaii Revised Statutes and Hawaii Department of Transportation Administrative Rules, along with the applicable Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) CDL waivers that were last amended on December 15, 2020.  The most recent proclamation, Seventeenth Proclamation, extends the emergency period end date through February 14, 2021. (The temporary interim procedures conveyed in the FAQs are subject to change.  Please continue to check this website for the latest revisions.)

(Revised December 23, 2020)

1. Am I still allowed to legally drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) if my CDL has expired?

CDL holders in good standing that have a CDL that expires between March 1, 2020 thru February 13, 2021, may continue to legally drive a CMV through February 14, 2021.  However, CDL holders must still meet the requirements for a valid medical examiner’s certificate.

2. Am I still medically qualified to legally drive a commercial motor vehicle if my medical examiner’s certificate (MEC) has expired?

CDL holders in good standing that have a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) that was issued for 90-days or longer that expired on June 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020 were granted an extension through December 31, 2020, and MECs that expires on September 1, 2020 or later are currently granted an extension through February 28, 2021.  The MEC expiration date extension allowances also apply to a CDL holder who has an expired medical variance or skills performance evaluation certificate that was issued for 90-days or longer.

3. Am I still allowed to legally drive a commercial motor vehicle containing hazardous materials if my TSA Hazardous Materials Threat Assessment for my hazardous materials endorsement (HME) has expired?

CDL holders in good standing that have an expired hazardous materials endorsement (HME) that expires on or after March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, are granted an additional 180-day exemption from the HME expiration date.  However, if your CDL expires at the end of the Hawaii COVID-19 emergency period on February 14, 2021 and your Hazmat endorsement 180-day exemption goes beyond the end of the Hawaii COVID-19 emergency period, your CDL with the HME will be valid only until February 14, 2020.  If your HME 180-day exemption ends before February 14, 2021, your CDL will still be valid until February 14, 2021 but your HME ends after the 180-day exemption period.

4. Will my class of CDL be downgraded to a Class 3 driver’s license if my medical examiner’s certificate has expired?

CDL holders in good standing that have an expired Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) that were issued for 90-days or longer that expired June 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020, were granted an MEC expiration date extension until December 31, 2020, and a MEC that expires on or after September 1, 2020, are granted an extension until February 28, 2021.  The CDL that is granted the CDL expiration date waiver to the end of the Hawaii COVID-19 emergency period, February 14, 2021, will not be valid after that time even if the MEC is extended beyond February 14, 2021.  After the end of the MEC waiver extended expiration date, the CDL holder will be medically disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle and will have 53-days from the extended waiver expiration date to submit a current MEC before being downgraded to a Class 3 driver’s license.

5. Will my commercial learner’s permit (CLP) be valid if it expires during this emergency period?

(Corrected as of October 15, 2020.) No, there is no extension of the CLP expiration date during the emergency period.  Although FMCSA allows for the extension of the validity period for CLPs that expire after March 1, 2020 with an extended validity period up to February 28, 2021, at this time Hawaii law that specifies that the CLP validity period of 180-days is still in force.  Future proclamations may include the suspension of the related law and allow for the extension of the CLP validity during the Hawaii COVID-19 emergency period.

6. What will happen to my expired CDL that was extended during this emergency period once the COVID-19 emergency proclamation has ended?

The CDL will no longer be valid to drive any vehicle once the extension period allowed for the expired CDL has ended and the CDL has not been renewed.

7. What will happen to my CDL after the emergency period has ended and my medical examiner’s certificate had expired during this time?

Qualifying CDL holders with a medical examiner’s certificates (MEC) that expired between June 1, 2020 thru August 31, 2020 were granted a MEC expiration date extension through December 31, 2020.  MECs that expires on or after September 1, 2020 are granted an extension until February 28, 2021.  The CDL is no longer valid to operate a commercial motor vehicle once your MEC has expired and the CDL will be downgraded to a Class 3 driver’s license if a new MEC is not submitted to the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Safety Office or County CDL office within 53-days after the end of the extended MEC expiration date.

8. What will happen to my expired CDL with a hazardous materials endorsement (HME) that expired and allowed a TSA expiration date exemption during the emergency period once the COVID-19 emergency proclamation has ended?

A new hazardous materials threat assessment must be completed with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and due to longer processing times, TSA recommends that the application be initiated at least 60-days before the end of the TSA exemption of the expiration date.  Failure to do so may result in the expiration of the HME for the CDL.  CDLs that expire during the Hawaii COVID-19 emergency period are granted an expiration date waiver until February 14, 2021.  In some instances, where the HME expiration date extends beyond February 14, 2021, the CDL must be renewed no later than the extension date granted for the Hawaii COVID-19 emergency period.  Should the HME extension date end before the end of the Hawaii COVID-19 emergency period on February 14, 2021, your CDL will no longer be valid to legally operate a hazardous material (Hazmat) carrying commercial motor vehicle but may operate a non-Hazmat commercial vehicle until February 14, 2021.   However, CDL holders must still meet the requirements for a valid medical examiner’s certificate.

9. My commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP) expires right after the emergency period ends. What happens if I cannot get an appointment in time to renew my CDL or CLP?

You will no longer be licensed to legally operate a motor vehicle on public roadways.  Please contact your county DMV to make the appropriate arrangements for an appointment.  (See the following link to get the county contact information: https://hidot.hawaii.gov/driverslicense/ )

10. My commercial driver’s license (CDL) was granted the extension from the expiration date through February 14, 2021. When I renew my CDL, will I get issued my renewed CDL with the extra days?

No.  Your renewed CDL will expire on your birth date (or hazardous materials endorsement end date) and the new expiration period and fees will be calculated based on when your CDL originally expired.

11. Must I still hold my commercial learner’s permit (CLP) at least 14-days before being eligible to take the skills tests?

(Corrected as of October 15, 2020) Yes.  Although FMCSA has provided a special temporary waiver through February 28, 2021, to waive the 14-day requirement, at this time Hawaii law that specifies the mandatory 14-day waiting period is still in force.  Future proclamations may include the suspension of the related law and allow for the waiver of the 14-day requirement during the Hawaii COVID-19 emergency period.

Did this answer your question?