WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new federal rule requires healthcare 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 final rule, which U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on Wednesday, also creates a national online database of medical examiners who have completed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) certification process.
“Safety is our top priority and requires cooperation from everyone involved, including our medical examiners,” LaHood said. “This new rule will ensure that healthcare professionals conducting exams keep in mind all of the demands required to operate large trucks and passenger buses safely.”
Officials said that FMCSA developed the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners final rule as part of the agency’s commitment to enhancing the medical oversight of interstate drivers, and preventing commercial vehicle-related crashes, injuries and fatalities.
The rule addresses four National Transportation Safety Board recommendations on comprehensive training for medical examiners and tracking of driver medical certificates.
In about 30 days, FMCSA will post its uniform training and testing standards for medical examiners at http://nrcme.fmcsa.dot.gov. Then, healthcare 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.
By May 21, 2014, all certified medical examiners must be on the National Registry database, and drivers must obtain a medical examination from a certified examiner. Medical examiners who fail to maintain federal standards will be removed from the registry, officials said.
“Truck and bus drivers deserve highly trained medical examiners that think safety first,” FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said. “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.”
For more information, go to http://nrcme.fmcsa.dot.gov.