The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration April 18 finalized a rule establishing a National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. It requires health-care professionals who perform medical examinations for interstate truck and bus drivers to be trained, tested and certified on the specific physical qualifications that affect a driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle. The online registry will include only those health-care providers who have completed the new FMCSA certification process.
“Safety is our top priority,” Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “This new rule will ensure that health-care professionals conducting Department of Transportation medical exams fully understand all of the demands required to operate large trucks and passenger buses safely.”
This rule addresses four National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations on comprehensive training for medical examiners and tracking of driver medical certificates.
In 30 days, FMCSA will post its uniform training and testing standards for medical examiners at http://nrcme.fmcsa.dot.gov, where you can go for more information about the rule. At that time, health care professionals, drivers, employers, law enforcement officers and the public can review the training standards and sign up to receive updates on the implementation of the rule.
Compliance is required for health professionals by May 21, 2014, at which point drivers must obtain any medical examination from a certified examiner. Medical examiners who fail to maintain federal standards will be removed from the registry.
To allow time for testing and training centers to prepare their curricula and receive FMCSA approval, healthcare professionals seeking to become certified examiners will begin registering on the National Registry website this summer.
“Truck and bus drivers deserve highly-trained medical examiners that think safety first,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “By holding medical examiners accountable to high standards of practice, we raise the bar for safety and save lives through increased commercial driver and vehicle safety.”
Medical examiners perform approximately three million examinations of commercial truck and bus drivers each year. A DOT medical exam looks at a range of conditions to determine a driver’s medical fitness, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory and muscular functions, vision and hearing.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.