Proposal seeks a four-year delay to the Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration final rule

More IT development needed before implementation, FMCSA states

Posted April 23, 2021

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposes to again extend the compliance date for several provisions of its Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration final rule.

The compliance date for these provisions was postponed previously from June 22, 2018, to June 22, 2021, by an earlier interim final rule. The newly proposed rule would push the date back to June 23, 2025.

Why another compliance date extension?

According to the proposed rule, the additional time is needed:

  • By FMCSA to complete certain information technology (IT) system development tasks for its National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (National Registry); and
  • To provide the State Driver’s Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) sufficient time to make the necessary IT programming changes after the new National Registry system is available.

What would be delayed?

The agency is seeking to delay the process of directly transmitting a CDL driver’s medical exam results from the medical examiner’s (ME) National Registry account to FMCSA.

The Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration final rule, when implemented, would streamline the procedures, by allowing:

  • FMCSA to post exam results on the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) driver record; and
  • States to receive the results electronically, removing the CDL driver’s role of submitting the medical card to the SDLA and the motor carrier’s need to verify the driver’s exam was performed by someone on the National Registry.

If the proposed delay becomes a final rule, the current process of submitting medical certifications to the state remains intact for four more years.

What is the current process?

The current process is more manual and requires actions on the part of the medical examiner, driver, motor carrier, and SDLA.

If the delay is approved, the following steps would remain in place:

  1. MEs provide CDL drivers with a copy of a medical card.
  2. Motor carriers obtain a copy of the medical card from either the driver or ME.
  3. Motor carriers verify the ME is listed on the National Registry based on information on the medical card.
  4. CDL drivers submit a copy of the medical card to the SDLA within a few days of the exam.
  5. CDL drivers carry a copy of the medical card for 15 days following the exam.
  6. SDLAs process the medical card within ten days of receiving it from the driver so it appears on the motor vehicle record (MVR).
  7. Motor carriers retain a copy of the medical card as temporary proof of the driver’s certification (no longer than 15 days).
  8. Motor carriers obtain an MVR within 15 days of the exam that shows the most recent medical exam.

How long is the comment period on the proposed rule?

FMCSA is accepting comments on the proposed delay for 30 days following its publication in the Federal Register. The agency is expected to make a decision before the scheduled June 22, 2021, deadline.

For more detailed information on submitting or viewing comments, please visit regulations.gov and reference Docket Number FMCSA-2018- 0152.

This article was written by Kathy Close of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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