OOIDA launches online resource to help truckers prepare for DOT exams

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 1/30/2015

OOIDA has launched a new online resource to help truckers prepare for their DOT physicals and share information with fellow drivers about their experiences under the system that requires their physicals to be performed by FMCSA-certified medical examiners.

The resource, found at ooida.com under the Issues & Actions/Regulatory tab or accessed directly at ooida.com/ReviewDoc, will help drivers be more informed when preparing for a DOT medical exam through the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration launched the registry in May 2014. Many truckers that have held two-year or one-year medical cards are just now navigating the system for the first time, and many have questions. And they’re not alone. Truckers who have gone through a DOT physical under the new system have questions and concerns as well.

“This website will provide a variety of resources to help drivers prepare for a visit to a certified medical examiner,” OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Scott Grenerth said.

The site features 10 concise topics to help truckers prepare for their exam.

“All are meant to ensure people don’t repeat mistakes others have made and all are meant to make sure the driver is as informed as possible before stepping into a doctor’s office,” Grenerth said.

For example, a driver should begin preparing 30 days in advance of a doctor’s visit, according to the site, because in a worst-case scenario a driver may be required to undergo a medical test and wait for results before they can be certified. A driver may also need time to visit his or her personal physician or make sure testing or a procedure is covered under insurance.

“Drivers need to be informed consumers because there are unscrupulous people out there who look at a truck driver as an ATM and try to extract as much money out of that driver before they leave the office,” Grenerth said. “There are also genuinely confused examiners who clearly lack clarity on what to do in some areas.”

A helpful feature on the website allows truckers to submit reviews of their medical examiners and to search for reviews that other drivers have submitted. Perhaps a medical examiner was fair but the truck parking was lousy, or perhaps it was the other way around.

The reviews are meant to inform and help other truckers navigate the system, find the docs who are doing good work and avoid ones that get bad reviews.

Reviews submitted by truckers are searchable by geographic location of up to a 150-mile radius of any U.S. city.

“It’s a very simple way to provide feedback, and it’s anonymous,” Grenerth said.

Truckers continue to ask whether it’s OK to seek a second opinion on medical matters encountered during a DOT physical.

The web resource spells out what is acceptable and what is not concerning the second opinion. It also links to FMCSA statements on the issue of second opinions.

“There are a lot of things to be mindful of, and the website will help a driver be as informed as possible,” Grenerth said. 

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