FMCSA – Mandatory Changes to CDL Medical Exams

April 25th, 2016

Truck Driver

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has updated the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations to better reflect the physical demands drivers face and help them be safer on the roads. On April 20, 2016, all DOT physicals are required to be completed according to the new regulations. We understand that the FMCSA’s changes will be a challenging and perhaps confusing time for commercial drivers. The Workplace Health & Wellness staff at Grand View Health will continue to keep you informed about how they changes may impact drivers and your company.

New forms – As of 4/20/16, only the revised versions of the MER and MEC forms can be used or will be accepted by the federal government. These forms include:

For your convenience, the MER Form can also be easily obtained through the forms section on the Workplace Health & Wellness website.

Changes to the MER form – There are several changes on the revised form that your drivers need to know.

  • The report now includes a more detailed medical history and signed statements by the driver.
  • The new “Determination Pending” status can be used by medical examiners for drivers who present with a medical condition that requires additional information before making a final decision on certification. This status can be assigned for a maximum of 45 days. During this time, the driver may continue to operate a CMV if she/he has a current medical certificate. However, the certificate will expire at the end of the 45 days or according to the date of expiration on the current medical certificate, whichever comes first. Once an examiner obtains the requested information a final decision is made.
  • If a “Determination Pending” is not completed within the 45-day period due to lack of information or expiration of current medical certificate, then the initial exam is invalidated by the FMCSA and a new exam will be required for certification.
  • Temporary medical cards can still be issued for 1-month or 3-months to drivers who have a pre-existing or newly diagnosed medical condition. For example, a driver who presents with elevated blood pressure after multiple checks could be issued a temporary card. When the driver returns for clearance beyond the 1-month or 3-month card, a completely new exam is required by the FMCSA regulations. If there are no further issues, the driver’s medical card will be extended to the maximum timeframe allowed for that specific medical condition.

Recommendations to save you time and money – The changes to the FMCSA guidelines for DOT physicals can have an effect on the employment status of your drivers, so they need to be proactive. Here are a few recommendations that will save the drivers and your company time and money:

  • All drivers must present with photo identification.
  • Any driver with a chronic medical condition (such as diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, lung disease, history of blood clots or any other condition treated by the primary care physician or specialist) should present with the provider’s recent office visit notes and studies.
  • Drivers should schedule their exam 45-60 days prior to the expiration date of the medical card. This will help facilitate the process and may expedite their certification.
  • Drivers assigned a “determination pending” status need to do the following: forward all requested information AND return for a follow up visit within 45 days.

Workplace Health & Wellness at Grand View can help you maintain compliance – Our medical staff stays current on all DOT regulations so that we can help you navigate federal requirements. All of our providers conducting DOT physical exams are certified and compliant with the FMCSA and National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. If you have any questions about how these changes affect you  or to schedule a physical exam, please call 215.453.4941 or email us.