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FMCSA revises its guidance for “medical treatment”

X-rays no longer make an accident recordable

Posted March 1, 2022

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a change to their guidance concerning the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations’ (FMCSRs’) use of the term “medical treatment.”

The guidance previously stated that a driver who received an x-ray after an accident had received medical treatment. After reviewing a petition suggesting that an x-ray is a diagnostic tool that may or may not result in the finding of injury, FMCSA has revised their guidance to exclude x-rays from the definition of “medical treatment” for the purpose of accident recording. The new guidance aligns with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) definition of medical treatment, which does not include diagnostic procedures.

Carriers should note that this new guidance will affect which accidents are deemed recordable and must be documented on their accident register. The regulation in question, 49 CFR 390.5T, defines an accident as involving, among other possible criteria, “bodily injury to a person who, as a result of the injury, receives medical treatment away from the scene of the accident.” Effective immediately, x-rays are not considered by FMCSA to be “medical treatment,” and therefore do not on their own deem an accident recordable.

This article was written by Jen Loomis of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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