For the Record
By James Jaillet
New and existing CDL holders must comply by Jan. 30, 2014, with a new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration policy that combines CDLs and driver medical certification cards, said FMCSA safety investigator John Seidl at a March 23 seminar in Louisville, Ky.
The new CDL-medical certification card should be obtained when drivers renew their CDL within the next 22 months by simply providing your current medical certificate to your state drivers licensing agency.
Seidl also said FMCSA is working on a policy to build a list of trained and certified health examiners, which, if passed, would require drivers to receive their medical certification from a doctor or physician on the certified list.
Until then, drivers can receive their medial certification from any doctor, nurse practitioner or chiropractor. The general qualification for receiving certification, Seidl said, is that a driver must “be in good health and physically able to perform all duties of a driver.”
Drivers must be evaluated and re-certified at the interval specified. Also, if a new condition is discovered or a driver’s condition changes, he or she must be evaluated again, even if the original certification is not out of date.
Seidl also offered advice for talking with doctors, including describing what you do and asking how illnesses or injuries may affect you as a driver; if any treatments you receive may hamper your ability to drive, and, if so, what are alternatives; and what you can do to improve your recovery.
He also recommended talking to pharmacists and doctors about your medications, including why you’re taking a certain medication, how much of it you should take, when you should take it, how you should take it, what you should do if you miss a dose and any side effects.
Under current policy, drivers must carry their medical certification cards with them and be able to produce it upon inspection.
Certification is typically good for two years, unless there is an underlying condition, such as high blood pressure, that would cause a doctor to certify a driver for less time.