As of 2014 all new U.S. DOT physicals are required to be performed by health professionals who have qualified pursuant to stringent protocols and who are now listed on the “National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners”. Mandatory U.S. DOT exams assess a driver’s condition to be able to competently and safely be behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle. The exam includes assessing basic vision, hearing, muscle function, respiratory systems, and also assesses individuals for cardiovascular diseases or other health ailments that could affect the driver’s ability to operate such a vehicle. Medical Examiners on the Registry are now required to maintain a certain level of competence and must attend periodic training sessions and go through a re-certification process. If they fail to maintain these pursuant to Federal Standards, they will be removed from the National Registry. It is critical when assessing a commercial driver’s competence/ability to operate commercial vehicles that their medical history and status of the medical certificate be assessed, and now with the new regulation the competency of the examiner is also critical. Competency of the examiner is now based on training standards for these medical professionals who desire to perform commercial driver physicals. Under the prevailing regulations, all Interstate commercial truck and bus drivers are required to undergo and pass a medical examination at least every two years in order to obtain/maintain a valid Medical Certificate, which in turn allows them to have an active commercial driver’s license.
As Secretary Anthony Fox of the U.S. DOT stated “safety is our highest priority and that every commercial truck and bus driver be qualified, alert and focused when they are behind the wheel”.