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FMCSA Set to Revise Medical Examiners Handbook Used for Driver Medical Certification


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) revision to CDL driver medical examiner guidelines is nearing completion. The Medical Examiners Handbook serves as a guideline for the more than 50,000 FMCSA certified medical examiners who use it to assess driver health during mandatory CDL medical examinations. The handbook offers the FMCSA’s suggested best medical practices to evaluate medical conditions including, diabetes, sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease. It also offers the examiners information on regulatory requirements for such problems as high blood pressure, inadequate vision and poor hearing.

The Medical Examiners Handbook is important to petroleum marketers because the information it contains is often used to disqualify or limit driver certification when substituted for independent medical assessment individual drivers. Revisions to the handbook relating to sleep apnea are the most concerning to petroleum marketers. The guidelines refer to neck circumference and body mass index as disqualifying factors. It is important that the handbook does not adopt more restrictive sleep apnea guidelines that would threaten driver’s medical certifications. Another area of concern are guidelines for blood pressure. Currently, the blood pressure guidelines use a 140/90 optimal standard. Possible reductions in blood pressure guidelines could present certification problems for a significant number of drivers. All proposed changes to the handbook must be open for public comment.



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