June 26, 2018

FMCSA Announces Paper Medical Examination Certificates Continue

by: Andrew Johnson

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced a delay in the compliance date for certain provisions of the 2015 Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration Final Rule.

The original compliance date, June 22, 2018, was when the process would begin for commercial motor vehicle driver physical examinations results to be posted to the Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS).

Those medical exam results cover applicants or holders of a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) and include examination failures and any medical limitations on the driver, as well as full certifications. Once posted to CDLIS, motor carriers, drivers, enforcement personnel and other interested parties could rely on the medical information on the CDLIS driver record and would no longer be allowed to rely on the original paper Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC, or Form MCSA-5876) as proof of medical certification.

Effective immediately, FMCSA has extended that compliance date three years to June 22, 2021. FMCSA’s reason for another delay is that the information technology infrastructure necessary for the agency and state driver licensing agencies to transmit and receive the medical exam data, which would ultimately be posted to CDLIS, is simply not ready. FMCSA will continue to require that certified medical examiners (CMEs) report the results of all commercial motor vehicle driver physical examinations to the agency by midnight of the next calendar day after an exam, as communication between CME’s and FMCSA is already established and functioning well.

Here are the practical results of this FMCSA announcement, through June 22, 2021:

• Certified Medical Examiners must continue issuing the original paper Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) to CDL/CLP applicants and holders.
• CDL/CLP applicants and holders must then provide a copy of the MEC to their state driver licensing agencies. Drivers should continue to carry the original MEC for 15 days as proof of medical certification.
• Motor carriers must continue to verify that their drivers were certified by a Certified Medical Examiners listed on the National Registry.
• State driver licensing agencies must continue to process the paper copies of the MECs they receive from CDL/CLP applicants and holders.

FMCSA said that some states may be ready before June 22, 2021 to begin the electronic transmission of medical exam data, including its posting to CDLIS. The agency said it will announce when states are ready to electronically post to CDLIS. In the event of any conflict, the electronic version of driver records will be considered official.

The full FMCSA decision can be found here: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/extension-compliance-dates-medical-examiners-certification-integration