FMCSA introduces new medical rules

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a final rule changing how driver medical qualifications are handled, tying them to the commercial driver’s license.

CDL drivers who are subject to the medical qualification rules will have to give a copy of their medical examiner’s certificates to their state driver licensing agency. The state licensing agency must record that medical certification status on the driver’s Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) record.

If the medical certification expires, states are required to update the medical certification status of the CDLIS driver record to show the driver as “not-certified," and then downgrade the CDL within 60 days of the expiration of the driver certification.

The rule is effective Jan. 20, 2009, with state compliance required by Jan. 30, 2012.

All CDL holders must comply with the requirement to submit to the state licensing agencies their self-certification on whether they are subject to the physical qualification rules by Jan. 30, 2014.

Currently, interstate CDL drivers are responsible for providing a copy of the medical examiner’s certificate to the motor carrier and for carrying a copy of the certificate when operating. Under this final rule, drivers must provide the medical examiner’s certificate to the state licensing agency.

FMCSA says the new rule will help prevent medically unqualified drivers from operating on the nation’s highways by providing state licensing agencies a means of identifying interstate CDL holders who are unable to obtain a medical certificate and taking action to downgrade their CDLs accordingly.

The FMCSA also published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to establish a national registry of medical examiners.

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