MEDICAL CERTIFICATION WATCH: FMCSA reports increase in registry

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 4/4/2014

Back in May 2012, FMCSA established a National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners to improve highway safety and driver health. The compliance date is May 21, 2014.

The agency has told Land Line that 20,000 certified medical examiners would be needed by May 21 and, as the program rolled out, it would eventually be about 40,000 needed to cover the vast area of 3,140 counties in the United States.

As of April 4, 2014, the total number of registered medical examiners is 11,999.

About 30 percent of the eventual goal of 40,000 medical examiners has been reached, a 4.4 percent increase from last week. Since the beginning of March, there has been an average increase of only 1.76 percent each week. However, this week revealed an increase from that average at 4.4 percent.

During the early stages rulemaking process, it was pointed out during the comments that a shortage of examiners could mean that many drivers will have to drive a few hundred miles out of their way to complete their certification. Fewer examiners could also lead to longer wait times for drivers and no opportunities for walk-ins. 

FMCSA expects the number of registered examiners to grow, noting that many people tend to wait until the last minute to take the test.

The National Registry requires drivers to receive medical certification from medical professionals who are part of the registry. Official examiners will be trained on FMCSA’s regulations and the physical standards of the truck driving industry. In the past, any licensed professional could certify a driver for physical qualification.

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