DOT Reminds Commercial Drivers that Physicals Must Now Be Performed by Certified Medical Examiners

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is reminding interstate commercial drivers that beginning today, all new DOT physicals must be performed by a qualified health professional who is listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

“Safety is our highest priority and it is vital that every commercial truck and bus driver be qualified, alert, and focused when they are behind the wheel,” said Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Medical examiners equipped with a thorough understanding of DOT fitness standards will be able to ensure that commercial drivers meet the health requirements necessary to operate on our highways and roads, thereby strengthening safety for every traveler.”

The new program was required by federal law. It addresses four National Transportation Safety Board recommendations and sets training and testing baseline standards for medical professionals who perform physicals for commercial drivers. It also provides standards for tracking driver medical certificates.

Presently, approximately 22,000 medical professionals have completed the coursework and testing. These individuals are listed on the National Registry. Another 27,000 have started the certification process. Medical certificates currently held by commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders will continue to be valid until their respective expiration dates. After this, the driver will need to seek a certified medical examiner to perform their new physical examination.

“We have certified thousands of health professionals to conduct driver exams – with more being added every day,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “The online database is easily searchable so drivers can schedule their medical certification exam with a qualified healthcare professional wherever they might be – coast to coast, including Hawaii and Alaska.”

A DOT medical exam considers a multiple factors to determine a driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle. The conditions the exams consider include cardiovascular disease, respiratory and muscular functions, vision, and hearing.

All interstate commercial truck and bus drivers must pass a DOT physical a minimum of once every two years in order to obtain a valid medical certificate, keep their CDL, and legally operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

Medical examiners who appear on the National Registry will also need to demonstrate and maintain competence through periodic training and recertification tests. Examines who fail to maintain these federal standards will be removed from the registry.

The FMCSA developed the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners program as part of  its commitment to enhancing the medical oversight of interstate drivers, and preventing commercial vehicle-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities. To learn more, visit the FMCSA website.