OOIDA to FMCSA: medical registry checks burdensome

| Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A proposed rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would make motor carriers check up on medical examiners and verify their presence on a list called the National Registry of Commercial Medical Examiners.

Such a rule, OOIDA says, would force owner-operators with their own authority to verify the doctor’s existence on the list after those drivers receive their certification.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the nation’s largest international trade association representing small-business truckers, filed the comments last week on FMCSA’s information collection period in connection with the proposed National Registry of Commercial Medical Examiners rule.

OOIDA members and thousands of other truckers would be required to perform “unnecessary” and “redundant” paperwork checks if a proposed federal rule is approved, according to comments filed by OOIDA.

In the comments, OOIDA President Jim Johnston said the information collection requirement rule FMCSA is proposing to add to the medical registry rules would require small-business motor carriers to “perform the unnecessary NRCME Registry check on themselves.”

“If they are a new entrant motor carrier, adoption of this provision could unduly subject them to the automatic failure provisions of FMCSR 385.321 (knowingly using a physically unqualified driver),” the comments state.

The Association also pointed out that having employees verify medical examiner information listed on a driver’s certificate wouldn’t deter fraud, and that FMCSA should keep in mind the fact that half of motor carriers subject to the medical certification rules own one truck.

“Thus, the proposed motor carrier/employer verification requirement would have hundreds of thousands of one-truck motor carriers ‘verifying’ their own certificates,” OOIDA wrote. “Certainly any driver intent on fraud is not going to self-identify the defective nature of his own medical certification.”

State drivers licensing agencies that issue CDLs should verify medical certification as the objective third-party they are, OOIDA states.

The rule, originally proposed in 2008, requires medical examiners who certify commercial motor vehicle drivers to be trained and registered in the NRCME.

FMCSA’s information collection regarding the registry precedes the registry rule itself, which is expected to publish in December.

OOIDA supported early proposals to create a national Registry of Commercial Medical Examiners, the Association said, because it would ensure that individuals performing driver medical exams were properly trained and would likely help end doctor-shopping.

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