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What Motor Carriers Need to Know About the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners

Written by Donald Jerrell | Mon, May 19,2014 @ 11:00 AM

DON JERRELL
Associate Vice President 

After May 21, interstate truck drivers only will be able to get official DOT physicals from medical professionals on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

This deadline is important to employers of interstate truck and bus drivers. All CMV drivers who need a medical card must be medically certified by examiners who are on the National Registry. In other words, no medical certification means no license. And no motor carriers are interested in the penalties that come with having drivers with invalid licenses!

OOIDA petitioned for a deadline extension, contending there won't be enough medical examiners on the registry by May 21 to meet the demand by current and would-be medical card holders. So far, the petition from the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association hasn't earned a response, which means an extension is unlikely.

Why Does the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners Exist?

The National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners was created to increase the medical oversight of interstate drivers. The logic is that medical examiners will help improve driver health, and healthier drivers will be involved in fewer crashes. Driver wellness is a hot issue in the transportation industry, and preventing crashes and injuries never will stop being a top priority.

The short story is that motor carriers need drivers with valid licenses, drivers can't get a valid license without a medical certificate, and the only way to get a license-worthy medical certificate is from a medical examiner on the National Registry.

Frequently Asked Questions: A Fast Guide for Motor Carriers

When it comes to medical certification, it's the drivers who have the most work to do (but motor carriers have a huge interest, too, obviously!). Following is a quick FAQ for motor carriers on medical certification and the National Registry. Use this information to help your drivers get proper medical certification.

Q: How is a medical certificate from an examiner on the new National Registry different from an old/current medical certificate?

A: The new medical certificate for drivers is different in two ways. First, the new medical certificates will feature a medical examiner's National Registry number. Second, new medical certificate system ensures that all medical examiners are trained on the same standards that measure a driver's physical ability to safely operate a vehicle.

Q: How does a medical examiner get on the registry?

A: Medical professionals who want to become certified medical examiners must complete training and pass the FMCSA's certification test. Medical examiner candidates can find trainers via the National Registry website. Training organizations must meet the FMCSA's core curriculum specifications. They also must provide trainees with proof of participation.

Testing for medical examiner status is provided by private sector organizations. Testing organizations also are listed on the National Registry website.

Medical examiner candidates are responsible for paying for their own training and testing. Once a medical examiner earns certification from FMCSA, they must complete refresher training every five years and undergo complete recertification every 10 years.

Q: Under the new registry system, how will state licensing agencies know that drivers medically certified?

A: It's up to truck drivers to share their medical certificate with their state licensing agency. Medical examiners are not responsible for sharing drivers' medical certification with state agencies on behalf of the drivers they examine. What's more, each state after May 21 is required to enter the medical examiner's National Registry number on a driver's medical certificate into the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS).

Q: How can drivers find an examiner on the registry?

A: Visit the National Registry online! To find a certified medical examiner, you can search by:

  • City and state
  • ZIP code
  • Name of medical examiner
  • Business name
  • Employer name
  • Medical profession
  • National Registry ID number

Q: What if my driver already has a doctor he trusts for CMV physicals?

A: If your driver's doctor is a certified medical examiner on the National Registry, those medical exams are good toward the medical certification needed for a license.

Search the online registry to see if your driver's doctor is listed. If the doctor isn't on the National Registry, your driver will need to find a certified medical examiner who is on the registry to conduct the federally standardized medical evaluation. Remember — their license is at stake!

Drivers can ask their personal doctors to become certified medical examiners. Their doctors would have to go through the training and testing described in this FAQ.

Motor carriers have a great opportunity to walk drivers through getting the proper medical certification. Driver health is key to your financial success and your organization's compliance, plus drivers want to know that you've got their back! The journey starts with finding a medical examiner on the National Registry.

What questions do you have about the National Registry? Please sound off in comments!

Related Posts:

FMCSA Extends Deadline for CDLIS Information, Medical Card Requirements

Drug Testing Requirements for Professional Drivers

Benefits for Truck Drivers: The Secret Weapon for Retention

Health Care Reform News: Employer Mandate Delayed


Photo via National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners website