FMCSA Publishes Final Rule on National Registry of Medical Examiners

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Effective next month, medical examiners of interstate bus and truck drivers will be tested and certified on specific physical qualifications that affect the ability to safely operate commercial vehicles.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners final rule to establish a training, testing and registration program for the medical professional. The final rule goes into effect on May 21, when the FMCSA will post uniform medical examiner training standards that can be reviewed by healthcare professionals, drivers, employers, law enforcement and the general public.

By May 21, 2014, all certified medical examiners must be listed on the National Registry database, and commercial interstate drivers must obtain medical examinations from a certified examiner. Registration begins this summer. Medical examiners who fail to maintain federal standards will be removed from the registry.

Currently, commercial drivers need only to be examined by a licensed healthcare provider to determine if they meet FMCSA physical qualification requirements. The new rule enhances medical oversight to better prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities.

“This new rule will ensure that healthcare professionals conducting Department of Transportation medical exams fully understand all of the demands required to operate large trucks and passenger buses safely,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The final rule addresses four recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board on comprehensive training for medical examiners and tracking driver medical certificates.