FMCSA logo

ATRI finds inconsistencies with driver medical exams

Excerpt from Transport Topics article:

The quality of mandatory truck and bus driver physical exams administered by certified Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration medical examiners is inconsistent, according to new analysis by the American Transportation Research Institute.

The research project was conducted to evaluate whether a new process that requires physicians to be trained and tested before being placed on the agency’s national registry of examiners was improving the quality of exams given every two years or less to commercial motor vehicle drivers.

The analysis, done in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, was based on a survey of 900 commercial drivers, 300 motor carriers and 1,200 certified medical examiners, ATRI President Rebecca Brewster said.

“The data show a polarity in quality of medical examiners,” said Clayton Cowl, chairman of the Mayo Clinic’s Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine. “Those examiners who are performing only minimal examinations may have received substandard training or are not taking their role seriously.”

Prior to May 2014, examiners issuing medical certificates to commercial motor vehicle operators were only required to be licensed by their states to conduct physical examinations, and be familiar with the demands of CMV operations and knowledgeable of the agency’s requirements.

But researchers said they were in some ways shocked to hear that 63% of drivers surveyed said the new process was not doing a better job of administering exams.

FMCSA regulations require that at a minimum, an examiner must review and discuss any conditions in a driver’s health history that may impact his or her ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle; record the driver’s pulse rate, driver height and weight, and blood pressure; test urine for proteins, blood, and sugars; test vision and hearing; and, physically check all major body systems for abnormalities

See the full article from Transport Topics.

Note from MTAC: Find a Certified Medical Examiner (CME) located close to your business by using this website. Additionally, be sure to take advantage of CT DMV’s email address which was created specifically to accept medical cards. The email address is, and the sender simply needs to attach a PDF file of their medical certification to the email that is sent to that address.