Medication form inviting problems, OOIDA says

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | 7/12/2016

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration moved forward with its plan to implement a new information collection request and commercial motor vehicle driver medication form. The notice was published July 8 in the Federal Register

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association was one of the organizations to argue against the new form.

“It looks like the Agency pretty much dismissed every single concern that we had,” OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Scott Grenerth said. “That’s very frustrating, because we brought up some very real-world scenarios and circumstances that could cause problems for our members. This is inviting problems.”

The collection request would allow certified medical examiners to communicate with primary health care professionals who prescribe medication to drivers of commercial motor vehicles. FMCSA says the information collection request will assist medical examiners in determining if the driver is medically qualified to operate a truck. As part of the report, there would be a listing of all medications and dosages prescribed to a driver, all medications and dosages the health care professional knows that are being prescribed by another health care provider, and the medical conditions being treated by those medications.

In formal comments posted in January, OOIDA said the form would challenge the opinion of the driver’s treating physician and lead to more inconsistencies in the medical certification process. OOIDA also said that the driver’s personal physician is best equipped to review a driver’s medical history.

“You’re just inviting more second guessing by the medical examiners when there’s already an absurd amount of second guessing going on right now,” Grenerth said. “The DOT physical is supposed to be a basic look at whether a driver is safe to operate a commercial motor vehicle. It’s not supposed to be preparation for surgery. It seems like we’re moving more in that direction. They’re looking under a microscope rather than looking at the driver right in front of the medical examiner. Therefore, we’re missing the big picture.”

The FMCSA argued that the form is voluntary and that it won’t be too restrictive or significantly increase the effort required by the prescribing health care providers.

The comment period for the notice ends Aug. 8.

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