FMCSA set to publish Medical Examiner Handbook

August 15, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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After years of waiting, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is set to publish an updated version of the Medical Examiner Handbook.

A notice of proposed regulatory guidance, which features the latest draft of the handbook, is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Once the handbook is published, the public will have 45 days to comment on the proposed changes.

The first version of the handbook was posted on FMCSA’s website in 2008 to provide guidance to medical examiners on the physical qualification standards in the regulations.

In 2015, the handbook was pulled down from public view after the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and others complained that the handbook created confusion for certified medical examiners on what was regulation and what was guidance. The old version was about 250 pages, included pictures of crash photos, and reminded certified medical examiners that they could be fined.

“What was recommended in the previous handbook wasn’t necessarily regulation,” said Jay Grimes, OOIDA’s director of federal affairs.

For the past several years, the Medical Review Board has been working on a revised version of the handbook.

The goal of the updated handbook is to provide information about regulatory requirements and guidance for medical examiners to consider.

The Medical Review Board provides recommendations to the FMCSA on the development and implementation of science-based physical qualification standards for commercial motor vehicle drivers in interstate commerce. The committee includes five physicians selected from medical institutions and private practice with specialties relevant to FMCSA’s bus and truck driver fitness requirements. More information about the board can be found here.

Starting Aug. 16, the public will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the new handbook. To comment, go to the regulations.gov website and enter Docket No. FMCSA-2022-0111. LL

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.