OOIDA Asks FMCSA To Extend Certified Medical Examiner Deadline

OOIDA Asks FMCSA To Extend Certified Medical Examiner Deadline

With the Certified Medical Examiner regulation looming, OOIDA is asking the FMCSA to extend the deadline.

According to a press release from OOIDA, in May 2012, the FMCSA estimated that 40,000 physicians would be registered in the agency’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners by the compliance date of May 21, 2014, however, with less than 6 weeks until the regulation goes into place, only 10,000 physicians have registered.

“It’s a source of concern for us that there are so few examiners registered so far,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “And it also should be a source of serious concern for the agency.”

Starting May 21, 2014, all medical examiners who wish to perform driver physical exams must be trained and certified by the FMCSA and drivers must visit an FMCSA-certified doctor for their physicals. Currently, all CDL holders are required to have a valid medical certificate that is signed by their doctor.  The only change that that within 2 years, all drivers must be examined by a certified examiner.

Prior to this rule, there was no required training program for medical examiners who conducted physical exams on CDL holders. “The former rules required that any medical professional licensed by his or her State to conduct physical examinations could conduct driver medical certification exams. No specific knowledge of the Agency’s physical qualification standards was required or verified by testing,” the FMCSA states.

The FMCSA feels that some of the medical professionals who were conducting the physical exams might have been unfamiliar with the FMCSA’s physical qualification standards.

“These professionals may also be unaware of the mental and physical rigors that accompany the occupation of CMV driver, and how various medical conditions (and the therapies used to treat them) can affect the ability of drivers to safely operate CMVs,” the FMCSA states.

OOIDA has filed a petition asking the FMCSA to extend the deadline and that drivers be permitted to obtain medical certifications from qualified physicians.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the Greater Kansas City, Mo., area.