For the purpose of minimizing commercial vehicle- related injuries, crashes and/or fatalities, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, announced on April 18, 2012 a new safety rule. This new ruling will require all medical professionals who conduct the examinations for interstate truck and bus drivers to follow standards set out in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).
Medical examiners who perform the physicals are required to be specifically trained, tested, certified and then registered with the National Registry. In order to maintain the certification and remain on the registry, examiners must complete periodic training every five years, and recertify by passing the exam every 10 years.
This registry was created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA), which is an online database that will provide information and list the examiners who have obtained their certification.
Examiners will be expected to be familiar with physical and mental qualifications in order to assure that the driver can operate large truck or passenger vehicles in a safe manner. They must know what treatments the driver may be receiving, and how those treatments may affect their abilities to drive safely. The examiners are also required to retain copies of the detailed examination reports showing any tests used while determining if the driver is qualified.
The DOT (Department of Transportation) exam includes observing and gathering medical information about various health conditions such as cardiac and respiratory health, muscular functions, vision and hearing. Drivers must pass the DOT exam at least every two years in order to receive their medical certificate, which allows them to keep driving commercial vehicles legally. Drivers must carry this certificate as proof that they passed the physical exam and are medically cleared.
In the near future, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association will post the training and testing standards for the medical examiners on their official website. Examiners can sign up for regular updates as the new rule is implemented.
All examiners who are certified must be on the National Registry, and the drivers must obtain their physical by a certified examiner by May 21, 2014. Medical examinesr who donot follow the federal standards will be removed from the registry.
A Cum Laude Honors graduate of Cumberland School of Law, Alabama tort law expert Mike Roberts has successfully litigated cases covering civil litigation, personal injury, negligence, product liability, wrongful death and fraud. He is the author of six editions of Alabama Tort Law, and is licensed to practice law before the United States Supreme Court.