The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) main task is to ensure that interstate commercial trucks are operated safely. This requires the agency track and create regulations addressing health conditions that may make driving more dangerous, including determining which should disqualify applicants for commercial vehicle licenses.
Diabetes is a serious and increasingly common medical condition. When conducting medical examinations, the certified medical examiner should be familiar with the requirements and regulations for those applicants with diabetes, in addition to other specific conditions.
National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) recognizes Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver (CMV) as a treatable condition.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that results in the cessation of breathing during periods of sleep. The apnea can last anywhere from a few seconds to greater than 10 seconds and may occur several times per hour. OSA occurs when the muscles of the throat that keep the airway open, relax to the point of collapse which causes a partial or complete obstruction of the airway. This results in the snoring or grunting sound that a person with OSA may make during their sleep.
Physicians and other medical professionals choosing to perform physical examinations for commercial driver applicants pursuant to the Department of Transportation's (hereinafter, "DOT") regulations have potential liability exposure of which they should be aware. While cases are not often pursued against examiners, practitioners must understand their potential liability and how best to protect themselves. Regardless of the type of case, a medical professional's best defense is to perform the medical examinations within the strict guidelines provided by the DOT and using the best medical practices possible on every case.