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FMCSA Announces Medical Examiner Final Rule

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Week of April 16, 2012
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FMCSA has announced the long awaited Medical Examiner Final Rule. Under the new regulations, medical examiners will be required to undergo training and be posted in a national registry before they can certify motor carrier drivers.

In an entry in the Federal Register late last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a Final Rule establishing a National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

Under the new rule, medical examiners — those that certify a driver fit to operate a commercial motor vehicle — must undergo training and must be listed on the National Registry.

National Registry

The core of the new rule is that FMCSA will be creating a registry of all the doctors who can certify a driver in one central database. In order to get on that database, the doctor must have undergone an FMCSA training course and have passed a test.

Once the registry is in place, FMCSA will only accept medical certificates that have been signed by a listed doctor. This will mean a big change for many motor carriers; there is a strong chance that if you are using your regular, general practitioner as your certifying doctor, they will not be on the registry. As has been seen with drug and alcohol testing, not all doctors will be willing to undergo the hassle of training and testing so drivers will need to find a new certifying doctor.

Time Line

Considering the seismic shift that these regulations will cause there is a reasonable time-line for compliance: The new system will have to be up and in place by May 21 of 2014. Hopefully, that will be enough time to not only set up the registry but also for the body of approved doctors to reach an appropriate size to serve the nationwide trucking industry.

Training Requirements

The training that doctors will have to undergo is relatively complex. According to the new Part 90.105:
An applicant for medical examiner certification must complete a training program that:

(a) Is conducted by a training provider that:

(1) Is accredited by a nationally recognized medical profession accrediting organization to provide continuing education units; and

(2) Meets the following administrative requirements:

(i) Provides training participants with proof of participation.

(ii) Provides FMCSA point of contact information to training participants.

(b) Provides training to medical examiners on the following topics:

(1) Background, rationale, mission, and goals of the FMCSA medical examiner’s role in reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles.

2) Familiarization with the responsibilities and work environment of commercial motor vehicle operation.

(3) Identification of the operator and obtaining, reviewing, and documenting operator medical history, including prescription and over-the-counter medications.

(4) Performing, reviewing, and documenting the operator’s medical examination.

(5) Performing, obtaining, and documenting additional diagnostic tests or medical opinion from a medical specialist or treating physician.

(6) Informing and educating the operator about medications and non-disqualifying medical conditions that require remedial care.

(7) Determining operator certification outcome and period for which certification should be valid.

(8) FMCSA reporting and documentation requirements.

Guidance on the core curriculum specifications for use by training providers is available from FMCSA.

More to Come

Obviously, this is going to have a huge effect on the trucking industry over the next couple of years. We will cover regulation changes (if there are any) here in Fast-Fax and cover industry reaction on the Transportation Ticker blog at www.FoleyServices.com/News.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 111, No. 734 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011