New Medical Requirements for Commercial Truck and Bus Drivers

In December, 2008, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a final rule designed to provide uniform requirements for medical examiners, and developed a process for combining the commercial drivers license (CDL) and medical certificate records for commercial truck and bus drivers.

“While we have made significant improvements in motor carrier safety, these actions will support and strengthen our continuing commitment to ensure that only medically qualified individuals are allowed to operate an interstate truck or bus. Safety is our paramount responsibility,” FMCSA Administrator John H. Hill said.

The new rule combines the CDL and medical records of a truck driver. This is designed, according to the FMCSA, to give “instant electronic access to the CDL holder’s medical certificate by state and federal enforcement officials.”

If passed, a related rule will also establish a National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners to to monitor qualifications of medical examiners and the uniformity in the medical exams they perform. The proposal would require the medical examiner to electronically transmit to FMCSA the name and a numerical identifier for each driver who is examined. The proposal also would create a process by which medical examiners who fail to meet or maintain the minimum standards would be removed from the National Registry.

The NPRM for the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners can be found at www.regulations.gov, docket number FMCSA-2008-0363. Public comments on the proposal should be submitted by January 30, 2009.

The final rule on Medical Certification Requirements as Part of the CDL is available for review at www.fmcsa.dot.gov

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