New Medical Requirements for Commercial Drivers

April 19, 2016 | posted in: Annual Audits, Human Resources, MVR | by

In addition to the existing medical guidelines that all Certified Medical Examiners (CME) must follow for the medical certification of commercial drivers, effective April 20, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) now requires them to implement a revised Medical Examination Report Form (MCSA-5875) and a Medical Examiner’s Certificate Form (MCSA-5876) for the medical certification of commercial drivers.

The new exam form now includes a more detailed medical history, signed statements by the driver, and separate certification sections for interstate and intrastate drivers.

The implementation of the new forms must be accompanied by certain mandatory changes in the medical certification process for commercial drivers.

Among the changes are:

  • All exams initiated, including incomplete and pending determination exams, must be reported to a national FMCSA centralized database.
  • Temporary cards can no longer be issued pending additional information.
  • Exams for which the examiner requires additional information before making a final certification decision, now need to be placed on “Pending Determination” status for a maximum of 45 days. These exams can be amended in the database within this 45-day period. Once the examiner obtains the information requested, the examiner makes a final decision and uploads the amended report. If not completed within the maximum 45-day period, the exams are invalidated by FMCSA. FMCSA will notify both the driver and the examiner, and a new exam will be required for purposes of certification.
  • Pending determination exam status does not extend the driver’s current certification and the driver can only drive commercially until his/her current medical certification expires or until the 45-day pending determination period is up, whichever comes first.
  • If the driver’s current certification is to expire during the “Pending Determination” period, the examiner can grant certification and issue a card for 45 days, as long as the examiner considers that the driver can drive safely. This should only be done while waiting for records or test results. Once again, a driver whose medical card has expired requires a new exam for certification.
  • Exams interrupted for any reason (incomplete) must be reported as such and cannot be continued and amended in the database at a later time. A new exam for the medical certification of the driver is required.
  • Intrastate commercial drivers are subject to the same certification rules and any additional state requirements that might apply.

Commercial Drivers with known medical conditions that may delay their medical certification are highly encouraged to schedule their exams enough in advance of their expiration date, in case they need to be placed on hold pending additional information before certification. They are also encouraged to bring a recent note from their treating physicians on their known conditions and their control when coming to the exam, in order to possibly expedite their certification.