Exams to Ensure Healthy and Safe Commercial Drivers

Having healthy commercials drivers on the roads is a major safety concern. Along with insuring that drivers are free from drugs and alcohol, it’s important that drivers don’t have untreated medical conditions such as hearing and vision loss, narcolepsy or seizures that could impact their ability to drive safely or create a hazard because of a sudden medical emergency.

The need for healthy drivers is why the Department of Transportation increased the requirements for drivers in 2014. Commercial drivers now need to be examined every 24 months by a physician registered in the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. These are medical examiners who have passed a DOT Examiner certification and are listed in the National Registry.

Why Is This Important?

The National Registry was created as a way to reduce highway crashes involving commercial vehicles along with improving the health of commercial drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration developed the National Registry as a way to ensure that medical professionals providing exams are familiar with the specific FMCSA medical guidelines and requirements.

Who Are Certified Medical Examiners?

According to FMCSA requirements, any medical personnel who is licensed, certified or registered to perform medical examinations in their state is eligible to become a DOT-certified examiner. This can include:

  • General Practitioners
  • Doctors of Osteopathy
  • Chiropractors
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician’s Assistants

What Are the Requirements for Medical Examiners?

Anyone wishing to be listed as an approved examiner in the National Registry needs to complete a training program outlining the physical qualification standards and guidelines as set by the FMCSA. These are typically offered by private organizations that have been accredited through a nationally-recognized medical accrediting organization.

After completing the program, potential examiners must pass the FMCSA medical exam, which is administered by a private-sector testing organization licensed by the FMCSA.

How Are the Exams Enforced?

Drivers must inform their state commercial licensing agency that they have passed an exam from a DOT-certified examiner. When a medical examiner completes an exam, the medical certificate information is immediately sent electronically to the FMCSA. This makes it almost impossible for a driver to forge a completed exam.

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