FMCSA moves forward with new medication form

By Mark Schremmer, staff writer

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration filed a notice and request for comments regarding a new information collection request and commercial motor vehicle driver medication form on July 8.

The collection request would allow certified medical examiners to communicate with primary health care professionals who prescribe medication to drivers of commercial motor vehicles. FMCSA says the information collection request will assist medical examiners in determining whether the driver is medically qualified to operate a truck.

As part of the report, there would be a listing of all medications and dosages prescribed to a driver, all medications and dosages the health care professional knows that are being prescribed by another health care provider, and the medical conditions being treated by these medications.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association formally opposed the collection of such information in January.

“If this information collection request were to be enacted, the number of inconsistencies will grow as certified medical examiners with no personal relationship with the driver attempt to evaluate a great deal of long-term medication usage,” OOIDA wrote in its formal comments.

“This proposal invites second guessing of a primary physician by certified medical examiners who are empowered by an unreliable medical form. Studies do not show a significant number of CMV operators who are crashing due to prescription medication use as this information collection request would imply. The ICR would only increase problems OOIDA members have already experienced with certified medical examiners, which have resulted in higher costs and lengthier delays for drivers.”

The FMCSA said they are providing the new form at the request of medical examiners, and it is to be used at their discretion. FMCSA added that the form is voluntary.

OOIDA, on the other hand, argues that the ICR will make matters only worse for drivers.

“OOIDA members have already experienced medical examiners who go far beyond evaluating the driver’s wellness and instead look for any excuse to further their own economic benefit.”

The comment period for the notice ends Aug. 8.