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Did FMCSA fail to notify Medical Examiners of NPRM- Diabetic Standard?



On May 4th the FMCSA  posted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Qualifications of Drivers; Diabetes Standard, proposing to do away with the Diabetes Exemption Program.

Under the current regulation, a driver with insulin treated diabetes may not operate a CMV in interstate commerce unless he or she obtains an exemption from FMCSA.

When you first look at the proposed rule, it looks like a victory for professional drivers who have their ITDM (insulin treated diabetes mellitus) stable and under control.  As you read the NPRM closer however, it appears that details are missing, or at least vague to some degree, as described in a recent article by Dr Randolph Rosarion, certified medical examiner listed in the US DOT FMCSA National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners….

Dr Randolph Rosarion

Dr. Randolph Rosarion – Certified DOT Medical Examiner National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners

read here FMCSA NPR to amend certification of drivers using insulin: “sketchy” at best

Presently, the Diabetes exemption program requires drivers to wait 6 months after starting insulin before applying for an exemption. It also requires drivers to send in quarterly reports to the FMCSA from an endocrinologist on the status of diabetes management,  and to undergo an annual eye examination for retinopathy (a complication of diabetes). However, without an exemption process, the FMCSA is no longer responsible for monitoring these reports and is depending on the Certified Medical Examiner to “make the call” to issue a medical card. The issue is however, the ME will be depending on the CDL drivers treating clinician to send in the needed “documentation”, which does not clearly defined what those documents are in the NPRM.

Dr Rosarion proceeds to state in the above article,  “The burden will only now be shifted to the medical examiner, and probably will not necessarily be alleviated for the driver either, that is, if the treating clinician properly evaluates and medical examiner certifies accordingly.  Then we need to ask, once certified how do we enforce this entire new process in lieu of the current Diabetes Exemption Program, to ensure that the driver using insulin remains compliant?”

Elaine Papp of Health and Safety Works LLC- Former Division Chief of the Office of Medical Programs at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

Elaine Papp- FormerDivision Chief of the Office of Medical Programs at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

In another recent article, Elaine Papp, former Division Chief of the Office of Medical Programs at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), recently stated
“FMCSA is not only proposing to eliminate the diabetes exemption program but is also eliminating all the prevention and safety requirements that accompanied the exemption program.”  Read more

Now, if this isn’t confusing and vague enough, it appears that the Certified Medical Examiners were possibly not notified by the FMCSA of the NPRM, this same rule which would put most of the burden on them( ME’s) when deciding if the driver with ITDM is indeed stable and well controlled enough to be certified.

When we asked Dr Rosarion on this last Saturday evenings AskTheTrucker “Live’ radio show, Pros and Cons of FMCSA Proposed Rule – Drivers with insulin dependent Diabetes, if he had received notice from the FMCSA of the NPRM, he said he had not, and then continued to say he found out about it by checking their website.

I don’t know about you, but I would think that the FMCSA would not only want their ME’s to know about the NPRM, but would want also their valuable input on the NPRM comment section.   Comments are due July 6th

In our opinion, if the Medical Examiners were not notified of the NPRM, a letter should be sent out to them.  Also, there should be an extension for those who want to submit comments to the website.

Listen to the replay as there were many other eye opening facts and questions that came up during the show.

Related Post  FMCSA proposes to do away with driver Diabetes Exemption Program

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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