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DOT Reminds Commercial Drivers that Physicals Must Now Be Performed by Certified Medical Examiners

National Registry Will Improve Safety for Travelers, Health of Commercial Drivers

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is reminding interstate truck and bus drivers that beginning today, all new USDOT physicals must be performed by a qualified health professional listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners

“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 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.”

The new program, which was required by federal law and addresses four National Transportation Safety Board recommendations, sets baseline training and testing standards for medical professionals who perform commercial driver physicals and for tracking of driver medical certificates. 

Today, approximately 22,000 medical professionals have completed the coursework and testing and are listed on the National Registry and another 27,000 have begun the certification process.  Current medical certificates held by commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders will continue to be valid until the expiration date that is shown on the card.  Only then will the driver need to seek a certified medical examiner to perform their new examination.

“We have certified thousands of health professionals to conduct driver exams – with more being added every day,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “The online database is easily searchable so drivers can schedule their medical certification exam with a qualified healthcare professional wherever they might be – coast to coast, including Hawaii and Alaska.”

A USDOT medical exam looks at a range of conditions to assess a driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory and muscular functions, vision, and hearing.

All interstate commercial truck and bus drivers must pass a USDOT medical examination at least every two years in order to obtain a valid medical certificate, maintain their CDL, and legally operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Medical examiners on the National Registry will also be required to maintain and demonstrate competence through periodic training and recertification testing and those that fail to maintain federal standards will be removed.

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.  To learn more, visit http://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov.

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Updated: Wednesday, May 21, 2014