CMV Drivers’ Right to Obtain Another DOT Physical Examination After Disqualification: Dispelling Concerns for Certified Medical Examiners!

Certified medical examiners (MEs) should understand the rights and options of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers for obtaining a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination after disqualification. This is crucial for fair treatment, health and safety, legal compliance, driver retention, and advocacy. It promotes health, fairness, and safety on our roads and workplaces. If a medical examiner deems a driver unqualified to operate a CMV should the ME examiner be concerned that the driver will obtain a medical certificate from another ME?

The answer is No! Here’s Why

If a certified medical examiner (ME) deems a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver unqualified to operate a CMV, there could be a risk that the driver might seek a medical certificate from another ME. This is why it is crucial for MEs to not only understand the rights and options of CMV drivers but also to uphold the standards and regulations set by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

If a certified Medical Examiner (ME) determines that a driver is not physically qualified according to 49 CFR 391.41(b) (physical qualifications standards for drivers), they must inform the driver of this determination and explain why they are not qualified. This information is reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

MEs play a vital role in ensuring the health and safety of our roads and workplaces. They must remain vigilant and committed to their responsibility, ensuring that only those who meet the health requirements are certified. This includes being aware of the potential for “doctor shopping” by disqualified drivers and taking appropriate steps to prevent such practices.

Furthermore: The National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME)

Since May 21, 2014, the FMCSA requires that all healthcare professionals performing qualification examinations on CMV drivers and issuing medical certificates be certified and listed on the NRCME.

Certified MEs upload their results to the national registry within one business day. The physical qualification exam results of CMV drivers are submitted to the FMCSA via the National Registry. Consequently, if two different MEs upload conflicting exam results for the same driver, it would raise a significant concern, or a “Red Flag.” This situation underscores the importance of consistent and accurate evaluations by MEs to ensure road safety and regulatory compliance.

Interstate CMV drivers (drivers operating across state lines) must obtain their physical qualification examination from an ME listed on the National Registry and must comply with the physical qualification standards (49 CFR 391.41) outlined by the FMCSA.

-Drivers need to obtain a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (Form MCSA-5876) before operating a CMV (initial examination) and prior to the expiration of their current certificate (recertification examination).

-If there is a change in their physical or mental health status, they must obtain an updated certificate.

-Drivers must provide a photo ID during the physical qualification examination and disclose their health history accurately.

The original paper Medical Examiner’s Certificate (Form MCSA-5876) serves as proof of medical certification.

CLP/CDL applicants and holders must provide form MCSA-5876 to their State Driver’s Licensing Agency (SDLA) before their current certificate expires.

Drivers Pursuing an Additional DOT Physical Examination or a Second Opinion

Just like any patient seeking a second medical opinion, CMV drivers have the right to seek another DOT exam from a different medical provider if deemed unqualified to operate a CMV.

Remember, drivers are required to disclose an accurate and complete health history on the Medical Examination Report Form, MCSA-5875, and in discussions with the certified ME during any physical qualification examination.

When a CMV driver disagrees with the certified medical examiner’s decision, they can obtain another DOT physical from a different certified medical examiner, however, transparency is crucial during this process. The driver should disclose all relevant information about their prior exam, including health history and any previous test results.

Resolution of Conflict

Question: Does the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provide official medical verdicts regarding the physical fitness of individual drivers?

Answer: No, the FMCSA does not typically issue such decisions. However, they may intervene to resolve discrepancies in medical evaluations upon request.

The FMCSA Resolution of Medical Conflict stipulates that if there is a disagreement between two Medical Examiners (MEs) regarding a driver’s medical certification, a provision is in place for drivers and motor carriers to request FMCSA’s intervention to resolve the conflicting medical evaluations. This is applicable when either party does not accept the decision of a medical specialist.

As per the requirements outlined in 49 CFR 391.47, the applicant, who can be either the driver or the motor carrier, must submit a report. This report should include the results of all medical tests and the opinion of an impartial medical specialist in the field where the medical conflict originated. The applicant has the option to submit this information via fax or email.


FMCSA uses the collected information, including medical data, to determine the driver’s qualification. Without this provision and its associated requirements for collecting driver medical information, there is a risk that unqualified individuals may be allowed to drive, and conversely, qualified individuals may unjustly be prohibited from driving.

“Status of driver. Once an application is submitted to FMCSA, the driver shall be deemed disqualified until such time as FMCSA decides, or until FMCSA orders otherwise.”

Remember, transparency, accurate disclosure, and adherence to the NRCME regulations are essential for CMV drivers seeking a second opinion or obtaining a new certificate!

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