Medical Review Board continues to update Medical Examiner Handbook

June 28, 2018

Mark Schremmer


As the FMCSA’s Medical Review Board continues the process of updating the agency’s Medical Examiner Handbook, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is watching closely in hopes the new version will make a clear distinction between what’s guidance and what’s regulation.

The Medical Review Board, which includes five practicing physicians, conducted a public meeting on June 25-26 in Arlington, Va. The board’s job is to provide information, advice and recommendations to the secretary of transportation and the FMCSA administrator on the development and implementation of science-based physical qualification standards. Certified medical examiners determine whether a driver is medically qualified to have a commercial driver’s license.

Jay Grimes, OOIDA’s director of federal affairs, attended the meetings.

“Going back for a while now, there has been a lot of confusion about what is regulation and what is guidance,” Grimes said. “From OOIDA’s perspective, we want to keep them on task and lose that nonregulatory guidance rather than add any more guidance, which I think they originally wanted to do.

“A lot of drivers were getting disqualified for things that were mentioned in guidance but that weren’t regulations. I made some comments, reiterating that the goal of the task is to remove that directive language that isn’t regulation.”

So far, the Medical Review Board has made it through about half of the 260-page handbook, and no revisions have been finalized.

FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez announced during the first day of the meeting that Dr. Christine Cisneros had retired and would no longer be serving as one of the five members on the Medical Review Board.

Meanwhile, Martinez said he was re-appointing Drs. Gina Pervall, Michael Kelley, Brian Morris and Albert Osbahr III to the board for another two years. He also said he will make his recommendation for Cisneros’ replacement soon.