Trucker medical certifications face Dec. 22 deadline for new forms

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In May 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) required all truckers to have a physical exam conducted by a qualified health professional certified by the National Registry of Medical Examiners.

Beginning on Dec. 22, health professionals will have to use new forms for the Medical Examination Report (MER) and the Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC).

“Safety is our highest priority and it is vital that every commercial truck and bus driver be qualified, alert, and focused when they are behind the wheel,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Medical examiners equipped with a thorough understanding of DOT fitness standards will be able to ensure that commercial drivers meet the health requirements necessary to operate on our highways and roads, thereby strengthening safety for every traveler,” he said.

By June of 2018, the entire reporting process will go electronic with information provided to state driver license agencies, eliminating the need for paper MEC’s to be issued to drivers.

Changes to the MER include the following:

In Section 1, Personal Information, the following has been added to the form:
• Issuing State/Province – Province has been added to be used for non-CDL drivers from Canada. Enter the issuing State or issuing Province.
• Email – Driver may enter an email address. This is optional and will only be used when FMCSA needs to communicate with the driver regarding their certification.
• CDL yes/no has been expanded to include CLP/CDL Applicant/Holder to capture all four categories: CLP Applicant, CLP Holder, CDL Applicant and CDL Holder. Driver selects one of the four categories if any apply. If none of the four apply, leave blank.
• Driver ID Verified By – Medical Examiner or staff records what type of photo ID was used to verify the identity of the driver (e.g., CDL, driver’s license, passport).
• Has your USDOT/FMCSA medical certificate ever been denied or issued for less than two years?

In Section 1, Driver Health History, the following questions have been added:
• Have you ever had surgery?
• Are you currently taking medications? – Herbal remedies and diet supplements have been added.
• “Not sure” selection for all health history questions
• Other health condition(s) not described above
• Entries for Date of Birth and Exam Date have also been added

In Section 2, Testing, Vision, the following questions have been added:
• Referred to ophthalmologist or optometrist?
• Received documentation from ophthalmologist or optometrist?

In the Medical Examiner Determination section - two certification options have been added:
Choose one:

• Federal – Examined in accordance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 49 CFR 391.41-391.49 

• State – Examined in accordance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 49 CFR 391.41-391.49 with any applicable State variances (which will only be valid for intrastate operations). 

In the Medical Examiner Determination (Federal) section, the following questions have been added:
• Driver qualified for: other – space has been added to specify timeframe
• Determination pending - Select this option when more information is needed to make a qualification decision and specify a date, on or before the 45-day expiration date, for the driver to return to the medical exam office for follow-up. The driver is able to continue driving until they are either found to be not qualified or their current MEC expires. For more information, refer to the instructions on the MER.
• Medical Examination Report amended – If the driver returns within 45 days, use this space to amend the MER. For more information, refer to the instructions on the MER.
• (If amended) Medical Examiner’s Signature and Date
• Incomplete examination - Select this when the physical examination is not completed for any reason (e.g., driver decides they do not want to continue with the examination and leaves) other than situations outlined under determination pending.
• Medical Examiner’s State License, Certificate, or Registration Number, Issuing State, Occupation, National Registry Number and Medical Examiner’s Certificate Expiration Date

Under Medical Examiner Determination (State), a new section, the following questions have been added:
• Use this section for examinations performed in accordance with the FMCSRs (49 CFR 391.41-391.49) with any applicable State variances (which will only be valid for intrastate operations).
• For more information, refer to the instructions on the MER.

FMCSA developed the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners program as part of the agency’s commitment to enhancing the medical oversight of interstate drivers, and preventing commercial vehicle-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

Beginning on June 22, 2018, medical examiners are required to report results of each interstate Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) driver’s physical examination, including the results of examinations where the driver was found not to be qualified, to FMCSA by midnight of the next calendar day following the examination.

Until the 2018 deadline, medical examiners will continue to submit a copy of the MEC to the state licensing office within five days of an examination to prevent any delays in the licensing process. States have 10 days to process the CDL holder’s medical status and transmit that information to the appropriate motor vehicle agency.

Drivers will continue to be required to carry their medical examiner’s certificate for 15 days following the exam.

Starting in December, the Determination Pending status will allow medical examiners up to 45 days to obtain additional medical information and/or examination results to make a determination as to whether or not the driver is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.

Instances where the Determination Pending status is used will be reported to FMCSA.

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