Drivers Physicals Must Now Be Performed by Certified Medical Examiners

by: Prince, Glover & Hayes Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration passed a new set of regulations last Wednesday for commercial driver physicals. All U.S DOT physicals must now be performed by a qualified health professional listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners to obtain a valid medical certificate. Current medical certificates are valid until the expiration date shown on the card, at which point a certified medical examiner will need to perform the new examination to renew their certificate. 22,000 medical professionals are listed on the National Registry and an additional 27,000 are currently training, according to the FMCSA. The new program defines the standard training and testing criteria for the certified professionals and tracking driver medical certificates. The medical exam tests for a variety of conditions that commercial drivers face, such as vision, hearing, respiratory and muscular functions, and cardiovascular disease. An online database has been made available to drivers to easily find and schedule their medical certification exam with a qualified medical professional. Every two years, drivers must pass a U.S DOT medical examination to legally operate a commercial motor vehicle. Certified medical professionals must also receive periodic training and recertification to stay on the National Registry and will be removed if they fail to do so.

The American Trucking Association (ATA) voiced concerns for the FMCSA to delay implementing the new regulations until more medical professionals had been certified. Their worry is that drivers in rural areas will have a more difficult time finding a medical examiner, spend more time traveling to the nearest one, and pay higher prices for the examinations due to the limited supply of certified examiners in a given area.

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