There are a number of new legislative and regulatory changes on the horizon for driver qualifications requirements in 2014. These initiatives are the beginning stages in developing a groundwork for a more robust and comprehensive reporting infrastructure at the state and federal level.
Medical Certifications on MVRs
By the end of January 2014, all commercial drivers license (CDL) holders will be required to provide information to their state driver licensing agency (SDLA) regarding the type of commercial motor vehicle they drive in or expect to drive in with their CDL.
Drivers operating in certain types of commerce (designated as non-excepted interstate commerce) will be required to submit a current medical examiner’s certificate to their SDLA to obtain a “certified” medical status as part of their driving record. CDL holders required to have a “certified” medical status who fail to provide and keep up-to-date their medical examiner’s certificate with their SDLA will become “not certified” and may lose their CDL.
After January 30, 2014, a non-excepted, interstate CDL holder without medical certification status information on their MVR will be designated “not-certified” to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. As of September 3, 2013, 29 states are reporting this medical certification information on the MVR (58% of the total states) and 3 states are in the development phase.
National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME)
Next spring we will see changes that impact the medical examination and certification process. Starting May 21, 2014, only those examiners certified by the FMCSA and listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) will be able to perform DOT medical examinations of drivers.
Also beginning on the same date, employers must verify that a driver was certified by a medical examiner listed on the NRCME.
National Clearinghouse for Controlled Substance and Alcohol Test Results
Another looming change centers on requirements imposed under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in July 2012.
As it relates to driver qualifications, by June of 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) must have established a national clearinghouse for records of positive drug test results, refusals to test, and other violations of 49 CFR Part 382 by commercial motor vehicle operators. Employers must use the clearinghouse to determine whether employment prohibitions exist.
Driver Record Notification System
Also by June 2014, the DOT must formulate recommendations and a plan for the creation of a national driver record notification system.
This system will automatically furnish an employer with a report generated by the appropriate state agency on the change in the status of an employer’s driver’s license due to a conviction for a moving violation, an accident, driver’s license suspension, driver’s license revocation, or any other action taken against the driving privilege.
Lastly, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act requires that by June 2017, states must establish and maintain the capability to receive medical examiner’s certificates from certified medical examiners electronically as part of their driver information systems.
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