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Medical Card Ruling Delayed Three More Years
4 mins read

Commercial motor vehicle drivers will need to carry copies of their medical cards for a few more years.

For the second time, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has delayed parts of the Medical Examiner’s Certification (MEC) Integration Rule. The final rule, which was published last month, has pushed the implementation date to June 23, 2025. Originally, the ruling was supposed to take effect on June 22, 2018.

Why is There Another Delay?

The delay will give the FMCSA more time to complete its new National Registry IT system, a project that has experienced a number of challenges over the years – including an unsuccessful 2017 website hack that took the registry offline for a few months so the agency could make sure it was secure.

Finally, A Better Way to Manage DOT Physicals 

In addition, the delay gives the State Driver’s Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) enough time to make any changes needed so that their systems will work successfully with the National Registry System once it’s completed.

What Parts of the Ruling is Being Delayed?

The provisions of the ruling that are being impacted by this delay include the need for:

  1. The FMCSA to electronically transmit, from the National Registry to the SDLAs, driver identification information, examination results, and restriction information from examinations performed for holders of commercial learner’s permits or commercial driver’s licenses (interstate and intrastate).
  2. The FMCSA to electronically transmit drivers’ medical variance information to the SDLAs.
  3. The SDLAs to post on the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) driver record the driver identification, examination results, and restriction information received electronically from FMCSA.
  4. Motor Carriers to continue verifying that drivers were certified by a certified medical examiner that was listed on the National Registry.

What Does the Delay Mean for Drivers and Motor Carriers?

For the next three years, drivers and motor carriers should continue operating as they have been with no changes to their DOT Physical or medical card processes. Motor carriers should continue to verify that their drivers saw a certified medical examiner by checking the National Registry. Additionally, drivers should continue to have a copy of their DOT medical card on hand when they are operating a commercial motor vehicle.

A Trend Towards Going Digital

This rule is a trend that we’re seeing at the FMCSA towards an entirely digital compliance and recordkeeping process. In the past few years, we’ve seen the rise in offsite audits, the DOT Clearinghouse and the random auditing of motor carriers’ drug and alcohol testing programs – all fully-electronic processes that require employers to both submit documents digitally and access federal online databases.

Digital Recordkeeping Now Required! Get Offsite Audit Ready Now

We suspect that these online processes will continue to take over, as they are believed to enhance safety and ensure critical compliance information can be shared between the federal government and the state licensing agencies.

All this to say: if you haven’t yet made the transition to a fully electronic recordkeeping solution, you’ll want to start taking steps to put one in place. If you’re called for an offsite audit without one in place, you could be looking at a very challenging 48 hours as you attempt to audit, digitize and electronically send all of the requested paperwork.

To learn more about Foley’s automated compliance solution, and begin the transition to a fully digital recordkeeping process, please click here.

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