Operation Safe Driver week will happen July 11-17 throughout North America. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and its partner state and provincial commercial vehicle agencies have announced that the primary focus will be on speeding—by both commercial vehicles and passenger cars.
Update on FMCSA Medical Review Board Actions
In the May issue of The Landing Gear, we reported on two motor carrier issues under review by FMCSA’s Medical Review Board (MRB). The first is an alternative vision standard that could make it possible for more drivers to meet vision requirements; the second is a review of the current method of assessing the impact of non-insulin treated diabetes mellitus (Non-ITDM) on a CDL driver’s physical qualification.
The alternative vision standard would involve a two-step process for physical qualification. First, a driver seeking to be physically qualified to operate a commercial vehicle would see an ophthalmologist or optometrist for an independent vision evaluation. The examining eye specialist would record the findings and provide specified medical information and opinions on a proposed Vision Evaluation Report.
Next, a medical examiner would perform a separate examination and determine if the driver meets the proposed vision standard, along with FMCSA’s other physical qualification standards. If the medical examiner determines that the driver meets the physical qualification standards, the medical examiner could issue a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC), Form MCSA-5876, for a maximum of 12 months.
With limited exceptions, drivers who are physically qualified under the alternative standard for the first time to operate a commercial vehicle would complete a road test administered by an employer before operating a commercial vehicle in inter-state commerce. The MRB has not yet specified how such a road test would be administered to an owner/operator.
Prior to its Fall 2021 meeting, the MRB will review and analyze comments from medical professionals and associations in order to make recommendations for the proposed alternative vision standard, as well as identify factors the Agency should consider before proceeding to the next steps in the vision rule making. The MRB will provide a letter re-port to the FMCSA Deputy Administrator with its recommendations in advance of its fall 2021 meeting.
In terms of assessing drivers with non-insulin dependent diabetes, FMCSA directed the MRB to review and comment on whether the proposed Non-ITDM Assessment Form would provide sufficient information about the treatment, control and stability of an individual driver’s condition. This information is intended to assist a medical examiner in deter-mining whether a driver is physically qualified to operate a commercial vehicle. The MRB will provide its comments and recommendations in a written report to the Administrator prior to its fall 2021 meeting.
ICSA will keep its members informed on the outcome of these two critical driver qualification issues. If you have questions, direct them to ICSA Safety Consultant Dennis Phillips at email@example.com or at 702-323-7115.
If you joined ICSA between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021, you should have received an email notifying you to visit our new website and click on the Renew Membership tab at the top of the page.
Maintaining the proper following distance gives you time to make good, well-planned decisions and affords other drivers the opportunity to do the same. What is your regular following distance? Adding even one more second can be a game changer.