OOIDA petitions DOT to repeal or amend medical conflict provision

August 6, 2019

Mark Schremmer

|

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association petitioned the U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday, Aug. 6, to initiate a rulemaking to repeal or amend FMCSA’s Resolution of Medical Conflict provision.

The regulation is designed to provide a truck driver the opportunity to challenge the conclusions of a certified medical examiner. Often, motor carriers require truckers to use a specific certified medical examiner. In theory, the provision should allow a truck driver to dispute the conclusions of that medical examiner and receive a second opinion from their own certified medical examiner.

However, OOIDA said the provision “effectively renders the underlying regulation useless” because it deters drivers from seeking a second opinion.

“When the Director of the Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle Safety Standards receives an application for determination of a driver’s medical qualifications, a driver is automatically disqualified until deemed otherwise,” OOIDA wrote in a letter signed by President and CEO Todd Spencer. “As a result, most drivers avoid this process, because it can take months or years to issue a decision.”

OOIDA suggests that the Department of Transportation either repeal the regulation entirely or amend the regulation to “where the driver shall be deemed ‘qualified’” until a determination is made.

“The existing regulation is well-meaning, yet unusable,” OOIDA wrote. “We suspect very few applications are ever submitted because in doing so a driver is effectively disqualifying themselves from operating a commercial motor vehicle.”

In addition to the petition, OOIDA submitted formal comments on the issue to the FMCSA.

“OOIDA members have encountered a great deal of problems regarding this provision,” the Association wrote. “These situations typically involve a certified medical examiner who is requiring expensive testing while basing their justification upon a cursory ‘examination,’ which may include no further evidence than the visual observation that the driver has a ‘large neck.’”

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, associate 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 nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.