The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General announced on Wednesday, Feb. 20, that it will be conducting an audit of the FMCSA’s medical certificate program.
“Ensuring the safety of our nation’s roads requires addressing the increase in fatalities involving large trucks and buses,” the OIG wrote. “One key area of addressing motor carrier safety is to ensure that commercial drivers maintain a valid medical certificate, which confirms they are healthy enough to safely operate the commercial vehicle.”
According to the OIG, the objectives of the audit will be to evaluate the FMCSA’s procedures for oversight of its medical certificate program and validating information in its National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. A DOT physical for commercial driver medical certification is valid for up to two years. The audit is expected to begin “immediately.”
A memorandum from Assistant Inspector General Barry DeWeese to FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez stated that large truck and bus crashes have increased by 11 percent from 2012 to 2017. It also noted that OIG criminal investigations have resulted in eight indictments and six convictions as a result of fraud in the medical certification process since August 2014.
However, the memorandum did not specify whether or not the OIG believes these cases of fraud led to an increase in crashes or that if fraud in the medical certification process is thought to be a more widespread problem than the six convictions in nearly five years indicate. A call to the OIG on Wednesday was not immediately returned.
No further details on the medical certificate program audit were released.
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