Drivers, carriers must retain copies of medical data for two more years

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Monday, June 13, proposed to keep in effect until Jan. 30, 2014, the requirement that interstate drivers subject to the commercial driver’s license regulations and the federal physical qualification requirements must retain a paper copy of the medical examiner’s certificate. In addition, interstate motor carriers also would be required to retain a copy of the medical certificate in the driver qualification files.

FMCSA says the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was issued to ensure the medical qualification of CDL holders until all states are able to post the medical self-certification and medical examiner’s certificate data on the Commercial Driver’s License Information System driver record. But the proposed rule would not extend the mandatory dates for states to comply with the requirement to collect and to post to the CDLIS driver record data from a CDL holder’s medical self-certification and medical examiner’s certificate.

On Dec. 1, 2008, FMCSA published a final rule to require any CDL holder subject to the physical qualification requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to provide a current original or copy of his or her medical examiner’s certificate to the issuing state driver licensing agency. FMCSA also requires the SDLA to post in the CDLIS driver record the self-certification that CDL holders are required to make regarding applicability of the federal physical qualification requirements and, for drivers subject to those requirements, the medical certification information specified in the regulations.

These requirements have a compliance date of Jan. 30, 2012. Several SDLAs recently have advised FMCSA that they may not have the capability by that date to receive the required medical certification and medical examiner’s certificate information provided by a nonexcepted interstate CDL holder, and then manually post it to the CDLIS driver record. Inability of an SDLA to receive the required material would render both the CDL holder and his or her employer unable to demonstrate or verify, respectively, that the driver is medically certified in compliance with the FMCSRs.

FMCSA says it believes that extending the requirement to retain the paper copy of the medical examiner’s certificate by both the interstate CDL holder and the motor carriers for two years will provide sufficient time for them to be sure that all SDLAs will be obtaining the medical status and medical examiner’s certificate information and posting it on the driver’s CDLIS driver record. For more information, go to www.regulations.gov; the docket number is FMCSA-1997-2210.