The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) has implemented new regulations through a Medical Program that will address health-related safety concerns. These new policies will change the standards for obtaining a commercial driver’s license, as well as increasing the standards for keeping a CDL current. The compliance date for these new regulations is January 20, 2014.

FMSCA created this Medical Program to promote the safety of America's roadways and ensure professional drivers are physically qualified to conduct their work. Roadway safety has been proven an issue in the recent study by the American Association of Justice. This study showed that "though trucks make up less than 4% of all passenger vehicles on U.S. roads, they are involved in 12% of all motor vehicle fatalities, kill over 4000 people each year, and seriously injure another 80,000 people.” Driver fatigue or other health-related issues caused approximately 15% of these 4,000 fatalities, according to the FMCSA.

Reducing the number of accidents due to driver fatigue will start with driver medical examinations.  On and after May 21, 2014, each medical examination required by law must be conducted by a medical examiner listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (§ 391.42). FMSCA is planning to train over 40,000 medical examiners in order to perform three million exams each year.

Drivers applying for or renewing their CDL under the non-exempted interstate category must provide an original or copy of their medical examiner’s certificate to their State Driver License Agency (SDLA), or DMV.  As of January 30, 2012, current CDL holders did not have to have their medical certificate on file, but will now need to obtain and submit a medical certificate no later than January 30, 2014. The purpose of the change is to link the medical certificate to the CDL and include the driver medical record in the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS), the federal electronic database. 

Another significant area the program is going to address is driver sleep deprivation. According to Department of Transportation data, 28% of commercial drivers suffer from sleep apnea. The certified medical examiners will be screening for sleep apnea and if it is suspected, further testing will be required. If a driver tests positive for sleep apnea, a treatment plan will be established. The driver must follow the treatment plan and send in reports of their progression in order to keep their CDL. The drivers suspected of sleep apnea will most likely be required to take a sleep deprivation test. The test required to determine sleep deprivation is easy to conduct, but expensive. The national average for a sleep study test is $2,625.
Tests can be completed while you are on the road or at home with a device supplied by your doctor.

Your two most important assets are your truck and your health. What good is having a truck if you can’t drive it due to these new FMCSA regulations? Stay healthy and make a good night’s sleep a priority while you are on the road.

Come back soon for more Health Smart tips and advice here on Team Run Smart.

Comments (11)

Kim Sheffield

Kim has both graduate and undergraduate degrees in education and taught for 14 years before coming to ATBS in November 2007. Her teaching experience includes secondary, college and adult education. In addition to her education background, Kim also has six years of business experience working with small businesses in the Denver area providing advice and bookkeeping services for individual clients. When she's not at work, Kim enjoys sports, especially skiing, basketball, soccer and softball. Travel is her favorite hobby and she has traveled all over the world. Her more scholarly pursuits include reading, learning languages and lecturing in the community on current events.

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Here is an article with some information regarding the FMCSA rules regarding sleep disorders.
"Bill Challenges FMCSA to Write Sleep Disorder Rule"
http://www.truckinginfo.com/news/story/2013/09/bill-challenges-fmcsa-to-write-sleep-disorder-rule.aspx?prestitial=1

September 17, 2013 13:12:12 PM

Robert- thanks for sharing that link!

August 07, 2013 12:12:09 PM

Thanks Kim that was a help. Using that information I found a site you can do a search on to locate who is registered. I also found a site where large companies and trucking organizations expressed concerning cost, etc. You could tell FMCSA was not going to let anything deter them no matter how much it was going to cost and the trouble it would make the drivers go through. Glad as an individual I was not blowing smoke a lot of large entities had the same problems. Ok here is the search site:

https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/NRPublicUI/home.seam

August 06, 2013 15:29:58 PM

The information regarding the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners can be found on the US DOT website. Here is the site for the exact quotation: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrruletext.aspx?reg=391.42. If you want to know more about the registry the DOT website has a lot of additional information.

August 05, 2013 16:56:26 PM

Here is some more food for thought:
1. When you look at what testing is required now including diagnosis of possible sleep apnea symptom requiring further specialized testing there is no reason a licensed MD cannot perform the required testing.

2. I currently have an annual physical which every second year is expanded to include the required CDL DOT physical. I also have a flight physical done which by the way the doctor needs to be federally certified and not done by my family MD much more detailed physical than being propose and of course to NOT good enough for the CDL DOT physical.

3. What is the requirement, fee(you know there is going to be one!!!) to be certified and what motivation will the doctors have to be certified. The doctor who does my flight physical only does it because he too is a pilot otherwise he would not per his own admission. Harder to find certified MD's to test and higher costs.

4. I can see where in certain years I would have 3 physicals that year, oh joy and $$ some of use pay our own way do not have a company picking up the tab.

5. I can understand the need for licensed MD's doing the test not your truck stop witch doctor. If you MD is not capable to perform this physical you should get a different MD. We all understand the need to be medically healthy but this will not make that any better just because the MD's who do them is somehow board certified. Just not going to happen!!!!

Sorry there is just so much unnecessary government control and fee, cost it is beyond ridiculous and this is just another one. Sorry enough is enough!!!!

August 03, 2013 23:08:02 PM

What a joke, do they have nothing better to do. I guess if they didn't change the rules for everything, they would all be out of jobs. I would love to see the fmcsa take the physical, I would say half would not pass.

August 02, 2013 18:00:17 PM

What a joke, do they have nothing better to do. I guess if they didn't change the rules for everything, they would all be out of jobs. I would love to see the fmcsa take the physical, I would say half would not pass.

August 02, 2013 18:00:16 PM

What a joke, do they have nothing better to do. I guess if they didn't change the rules for everything, they would all be out of jobs. I would love to see the fmcsa take the physical, I would say half would not pass.

August 02, 2013 18:00:12 PM

I have an ARRGGHH! moment on the fatality stat. The figures don't lie but liars figure type. While I can agree that 4% are trucks and are involved in 12% of the fatal accidents. The average truck drives more than 10 times the miles than the average car. That skews that number significantly and makes the truck way more than twice as safe as a car per mile-let alone ton. But, I was one of the first ones to push for certifying examiners. I wrote about it as far back as 2007-it seemed as if ANYONE could give a DOT physical and too many truckers relied on that as their only physical. I have had no problem with the new requirements. THEN I go and see my regular doctor for my actual health care.

August 02, 2013 7:57:25 AM

Robert I agree with you. When we would go to our family doctor for our physical we would get blood work done and a full checkup. This was a much more thorough physical then what we needed for our DOT physical. Our family doctor has decided not to go through the mess of being certified and it will be much more of a chore to see two different doctors while at home. It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out in the long run.

August 02, 2013 4:37:40 AM

Exactly where do you get the list of "On and after May 21, 2014, each medical examination required by law must be conducted by a medical examiner listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (§ 391.42).

In the past had my family doctor perform the physical along with my normal annual physical. Apparently this will no long be possible and be another unneeded expense. i understood the attempt to stop the fly by night's at truck stops but this is going over the top.

August 01, 2013 15:01:27 PM