Deadline extension pushes medical examiner’s final rule compliance into 2025

June 21, 2021

Greg Grisolano

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will once again delay the compliance date for several provisions of the 2015 Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration final rule, according to a notice in The Federal Register. The notice is expected to publish in the June 22 edition of the Federal Register.

FMCSA is amending its regulations to extend the compliance date from June 22, 2021, to June 23, 2025, for several provisions of its April 23, 2015, Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration final rule.

The agency previously issued an interim final rule on June 21, 2018, extending the compliance date for these provisions until June 22, 2021. An April 22 supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking, proposed further extending the compliance date for four provisions to June 23, 2025.

“This final rule will provide FMCSA time to complete certain information technology system development tasks for its National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners and to provide the state driver’s licensing agencies sufficient time to make the necessary IT programming changes when the new National Registry system is completed and available,” the notice states.

Deadline extension ‘another troubling setback’

In formal comments sent to FMCSA Administrator Meera Joshi last month, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association President Todd Spencer wrote that instead of another extension the agency should focus on addressing “repeated IT shortcomings” that have bedeviled the implementation process.

A second round of deadline extensions is “another troubling setback” for the agency, OOIDA’s president wrote.

“These continued IT failures are unacceptable, especially as more and more agency systems transition to an online platform including the Entry-Level Driver Training Provider Registry,” Spencer wrote. “We hope that FMCSA will finally address these repeated IT shortcomings to ensure highway safety for all road users and protect personal privacy for drivers.”

Since issuing the 2015 final rule, there have been ongoing challenges associated with launching a new national registry IT system, including a cyberattack on the national registry website in December 2017.

The supplemental notice blamed the hacking attempt and “other related actions” for affecting the schedule and resulting in the postponement of the compliance date via the 2018 interim final rule. Since then the agency says it has “experienced additional setbacks in its efforts to launch the national registry replacement system that require an additional delay.” It hired a new contractor in December 2020 to develop the system.

Spencer also wrote that the IT issues should make FMCSA realize “some technologies do not always deliver on their promise.”

“The agency should reject any rush to mandate unproven technology systems, such as automatic emergency brakes, speed limiters, or whatever is being promoted as the next magic bullet to improve highway safety,” he wrote. LL

 

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Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.