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U.S. DOT medical rule focused on commercial trucking safety

New safety regulations established by the U.S. Department of Transportation will require doctors and physicians who perform medical examinations of commercial vehicle drivers to pass specific qualification standards that ensure they know how to examine a driver's ability to safely operate a vehicle.

Medical examiners who are properly trained and approved to conduct this testing will then be added into a national database tracking all physicians certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The new regulations will affect the health considerations of both medical physicians and drivers, serving as one step in a larger process aimed at improving commercial truck safety by reducing the risk of semi tractor-trailer accidents.

Cleveland- and other Ohio-based commercial drivers will now have to seek out health and safety testing from an approved medical examiner. Testing will become more structured and stringent in hopes that the truck accident rate among drivers will decline as a result of improved health and safety considerations.

The new regulations are the end result of four separate recommendations handed down from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Although the new training standards won't be enforced until May 2014, the criteria for certification of medical examiners will be made available to the public this month, giving both examiners and commercial drivers ample time to get in compliance and prepare for the new standards.

If commercial drivers are unable to pass the new regulations enforced by medical examiners and pose a high risk of being involved in a truck crash, they may have their commercial license suspended until they can pass the testing.

Source: Occupational Health & Safety, "DOT announces final rule on training for medical examiners," April 19, 2012

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