- The Washington Times - Monday, July 21, 2008

Since 2003, the National Transportation Safety Board has put medical oversight of commercial truck and bus drivers on its “most wanted” list, calling the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s overall response “unacceptable.”

The NTSB issued eight safety recommendations to crack down on unfit commercial drivers who seek to evade federal rules that require special physicals at least every two years. None of the recommendations have been implemented, although FMCSA has begun taking steps to address three of them in part.

The recommendations are medical oversight programs that would:

_Ensure medical examiners are qualified and educated about occupational issues for commercial drivers.

_Establish tracking mechanisms so every prior application by a driver seeking medical certification is recorded and reviewed.

_Periodically update medical certification regulations so trained medical examiners will have clear guidance on which drivers with common medical conditions should be certified.

_Ensure medical examiners have access to resources if they have questions about certifying drivers.

_Prevent, identify or correct the inappropriate issuance of medical certification.

_Enable enforcement authorities to identify invalid medical certification during safety inspections and routine stops.

_Enable enforcement authorities to prevent an uncertified driver from driving until an appropriate medical examination takes place.

_Establish mechanisms for reporting medical conditions to appropriate authorities, such as a driver’s health care provider and employer.

Source: National Transportation Safety Board

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