Federal guidelines to require Commercial Driver’s License medical exams by certified providers

FRANKFORT, Ky. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will soon require drivers with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) to be examined by medical professionals whom it has certified.

The new safety rule, which begins this month, pertains to health care professionals who perform medical examinations for interstate truck and bus drivers. It requires such providers to be trained, tested and certified on the specific physical qualifications that affect a driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle. The FMCSA final rule also creates a national online database of certified providers.

“Highway safety has been, and continues to be, our highest priority,” said Rodney Kuhl, Commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Regulation in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC).

“The men and women who operate commercial motor vehicles are critical players in our highway safety effort. It is in the public interest to do what we can to ensure that those operators are medically fit to drive,” Commissioner Kuhl said.

FMCSA developed the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners final rule as part of the agency’s commitment to enhancing the medical oversight of interstate drivers and preventing commercial vehicle-related crashes, injuries and fatalities. This rule addresses National Transportation Safety Board recommendations on comprehensive training for medical examiners and tracking of driver medical certificates.

By May 21, 2014, all CDL drivers must obtain a medical examination from a certified examiner. A Department of Transportation medical exam involves checking a range of conditions to determine a driver’s medical fitness, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory and muscular functions, vision and hearing.

All commercial drivers must pass a Department of Transportation medical examination at least every two years in order to obtain a valid medical certificate, maintain a CDL and legally drive a commercial motor vehicle.

Kentucky has about 150,000 CDL holders, including operators of commercial motor vehicles over 26,000 pounds, federally placarded hazardous material vehicles, school buses and other vehicles that can carry 16 or more passengers. Information about the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners and a list of certified professionals in every state can be found at https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov.

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