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FMCSA's new medical examiner standard is still on track

Two years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that a new standard concerning individuals who examine truck drivers for fitness of duty would soon be fully enacted. The standard requires medical examiners who conduct work-related physicals for truck drivers to be certified in accordance with the newly enacted National Registry standards. This new standard has not been fully implemented yet, but the FMCSA insists that it will by May 21 of this year.

The logic that inspired this new standard is fairly straightforward. A number of devastating truck accidents may be prevented on an annual basis if truck drivers who are in poor health are sidelined from their work until their health improves. In addition, a number of truck drivers who suffer from conditions like sleep apnea may be properly treated if given an exam with such conditions in mind. Proper treatment may allow these drivers to sleep more soundly at night and drive more alertly during the day.

When medical examiners are tested, trained and eventually certified with the specific safety needs of the road and the trucking industry in mind, they are arguably more likely to diagnose and treat truckers with this knowledge and awareness as a baseline. Truckers are currently required to undergo examinations in order to renew their medical cards on a bi-annual basis.

While the trucking industry has expressed some concerns that not enough medical examiners are currently certified and ready to provide physicals to employees, the FMCSA is far more confident that the medical community will be able to handle the work load come May and into the future.

Source: TruckingInfo, “Carriers Worried but FMCSA Says It’s on Target for Certified Medical Examiners,” Oliver Patton, Feb. 21, 2014

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