CASPER, Wyo. — Several states could lose lose millions of federal highway dollars for failing to adopt new safety requirements for commercial truck drivers, but Wyoming is ahead of the pack on this issue.
Officials in about one-third of states have said they may not be able to meet a Jan. 30 deadline requiring interstate truck drivers to submit medical approval forms to state licensing offices attesting they are healthy enough to drive.
States that fail to comply face losing 5 percent of their federal highway funding. For example, that would be $30 million for Missouri.
State licensing offices will enter the information into a national database, which will track invalid licenses and driving violations.
Wyoming is one of only three states using the new information system, according to Don Edington, director of driver services for the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
As of Dec. 31, 10 other states were in the final phase of testing.
"We were among the lead states to do structural testing. We went online in mid-November, and it's working fine right now," Edington said.
To satisfy the new federal requirements, the Wyoming Legislature last winter passed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act Compliance law.
Among other things, the state law, which went into effect July 1, requires more frequent confirmation of federal medical qualification certification.
The Commercial Drivers License Information system has been in operation for decades, said Debbie Trojovsky, deputy program director of the drivers services division.
It allows transfer of a commercial driver's license to move with the driver to another state. The new law allows transfer of the driver's medical information from one state to another as well.
The structural testing was and is being done by states to be sure the information is being transferred between states.
The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators run the server for the information system, Edington said.
The Wyoming and American trucking associations supported the change.
Truck drivers have been required to carry their wallet-sized medical cards for decades. Once the new system is in place, however, Edington said it should eliminate the need for drivers to carry their medical cards.
Although Jan. 30 is the deadline for states to comply with the new federal information requirement, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration usually gives a couple of years' leeway to let states catch up, Edington said.