FMCSA wants to link medical certificate with CDL

| 11/16/2006

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is moving ahead with its proposal to link information from truckers' medical certificates into the CDL process. After announcing yesterday he'd signed off on the proposal, the agency's new administrator, John Hill, posted the proposal Nov. 17 in the Federal Register.

This proposed change to the regs is not a new deal, but old business that first drew official comments from OOIDA 10 years ago. What it means is that interstate truckers subject to the physical qualification requirements of the federal regulations would need to provide an original or copy of their medical card to their state licensing agency. That agency would then be required to marry the medical certification to the database that holds all the commercial driver's license information.

While the feds feel this would ensure accurate and timely medical info be maintained, some industry stakeholders have concerns. OOIDA's concerns are that the net effect will simply build more bureaucracy with greater cost overall. The Association also points out that the overall effort will lead to certification of medical providers which may inadvertently exclude a driver's family physician from doing the driver physicals.

"The significance of this is that it's often the family doctor who really knows the health condition of the patient," said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

In order to implement this plan, the FMCSA must go through an official process. The agency is requesting comments by Feb. 14, 2007.

All submissions must include the agency name and docket number, FMCSA-1997-22101, and the Regulatory Identification Number -- RIN 2126-AA10.

Comments may be submitted by personal delivery, fax, postal or e-mail delivery. Fax your completed comments to (202) 493-2251. Online, go to the federal eRulemaking portal at Follow the online instructions for submitting.

If you are mailing your comments, use this address:

Docket Management Facility

U.S. Department of Transportation

400 Seventh St. SW, Nassif Building Room PL-401

Washington, DC 20590-0001.

- By Sandi Soendker, managing editor