The FMCSA’s new Medical Examination Report (MER) form contains much of the same information being collected under the current MER, but in a different format. The agency removed detailed instructions to the medical examiner (ME), information on the driver’s role, and medical advisory criteria from the MER. Instead, FMCSA placed those specific items in guidance documents that MEs consult when performing examinations.
The FMCSA also revised the medical examiner’s certificate (MEC) to indicate whether the driver is certified in accordance with the standards set for interstate drivers or those set for intrastate drivers that have variances from the federal standard. This replaces the designation of interstate or intrastate on the current MEC.
For the ME, this means using the new version of the MER and MEC as soon as December 22, 2015. MEs will also be expected to use the electronic version of the MER via the NRCME portal beginning June 22, 2018, and transmit the results of the exam directly to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) by midnight (local time) of the calendar day following the exam. This transmission will include the results for both commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders and non-CDL holders. FMCSA will then transmit CDL holder data to the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) for the states to use on driving reports.
What can non-CDL drivers expect?For drivers that do not hold CDLs, the process will see little change. They will continue to find an ME appearing on the NRCME. Following the exam, the drivers will be issued a new MEC to carry on their person. In order to assist the ME in communicating the licensing status of the driver to the FMCSA, the drivers will be asked if they currently hold a CDL.
For non-CDL holders, employers will continue to document that the ME performing the exam appears on the NRCME, and retain a copy of the MEC in the Driver’s Qualification (DQ) file for three years.
Recordkeeping for CDL holders and their motor carriersUntil the implementation date of the final rule, it is status quo for CDL holders and their motor carriers with regard to recordkeeping.
Before June 22, 2018, CDL holders will continue to:
As of June 22, 2018:
With the automation of the process, FMCSA hopes to reduce the recordkeeping burden on the part of the commercial driver, the motor carrier, and the state agency. The employer no longer has to keep track of who did and did not submit his or her MEC to the state licensing office. As long as the driver goes for his or her physical, the MVR will show the disposition.