Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General announced it will audit the FMCSA’s medical certificate program.
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.
The justification for the audit appears to be based on six convictions related to fraud in the medical certification process since August 2014. In a memorandum to FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez, Assistant Inspector General Barry DeWeese also cited an 11 percent increase in large truck and bus fatality crashes from 2012 to 2017.
“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 a commercial vehicle,” DeWeese wrote.
While the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association questions the reasons given for the audit, the Association is hopeful it will shed light on other problems with the medical certification program that negatively affect drivers.
“We don’t think that six fraud convictions in nearly five years indicate that this is a widespread problem,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh said. “But we do hope the audit will reveal some of the other issues we have with the entire medical examiner’s certification integration rule, such as how second opinions will work and how the driver is going to be notified that the state did receive his medical certification.”
A DOT physical for commercial driver medical certification is valid for up to two years.
According to the OIG, the audit is scheduled to begin immediately.
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