FMCSA’s National Registry of Certified Examiners: Updates and Enhancements

FMCSA
4 min readMar 15, 2024

In recent years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has made updates and enhancements to its National Registry of Certified Examiners (National Registry). The Agency launched a new National Registry system, published a new edition of its Medical Examiner’s Handbook (MEH), and is removing medical examiners (MEs) for noncompliance with certain regulatory requirements.

Medical Examiner’s Handbook 2024 Edition; National Registry of Medical Examiners. US Department of Transportation FMCSA

Background

In 2012, the FMCSA developed and launched the National Registry system to implement the final rule, National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. The National Registry was created to ensure that MEs can effectively determine if interstate commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers meet FMCSA’s physical qualification standards. The legal basis for the National Registry came from the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which provided that:

“The Secretary, acting through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration −

  1. shall establish and maintain a current national registry of medical examiners that are qualified to perform examinations and issue medical certificates;
  2. shall remove from the registry the name of any medical examiner that fails to meet or maintain the qualifications established by the Secretary for being listed in the registry or otherwise does not meet the requirements of this section or regulation issued under this section;
  3. shall accept as valid only medical certificates issued by persons on the national registry of medical examiners; and
  4. may make participation of medical examiners in the national registry voluntary if such a change will enhance the safety of operators of commercial motor vehicles.”

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) provide training and testing requirements healthcare professionals must complete to become certified to perform physical qualification examinations for interstate CMV drivers. The training and testing requirements, implemented through the National Registry, ensure that Medical Examiners understand how the FMCSRs and related guidance apply to CMV drivers. As a result, the National Registry helps reduce the occurrence of crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses by making sure drivers are physically qualified to safely operate CMVs in interstate commerce.

Recent Updates and Enhancements

In 2022, FMCSA launched a new National Registry system with a different look and feel from the original National Registry system but with the same functions. Since that time, FMCSA has continued to make enhancements to the National Registry system that provides users with additional functions and a better user experience.

This year, FMCSA published a new edition of the MEH, which includes updates to the Medical Advisory Criteria published in the Code of Federal Regulations. The MEH provides information about regulatory requirements and guidance to MEs listed in the National Registry who perform physical qualification examinations of interstate CMV drivers. This latest edition of the MEH replaces all previous handbook editions and is posted on the National Registry and FMCSA websites and on the FMCSA guidance portal. In addition, FMCSA published a MEH webinar that gives an overview of the 2024 edition, including the structure, removed and added information, and updates to the Medical Advisory Criteria.

Publication of the MEH is the first phase of actions to provide current information and a comprehensive approach to medical certification.

As part of its processes to ensure MEs are complying with the FMCSRs, FMCSA announced in a January 24, 2024, Federal Register notice that MEs will be removed from the National Registry if they have not logged into their National Registry account using a login.gov account and updated their profile with current and accurate information. There are approximately 15,000 MEs who have not accessed their National Registry account using login.gov. As a result, they cannot fulfill regulatory requirements such as reporting results of physical qualification examinations performed on CMV drivers, receiving FMCSA communications, and completing required training.

Those removed from the National Registry will no longer be certified to perform physical qualification examinations of CMV drivers. To avoid being removed from the National Registry, medical examiners to whom the notice applies had to complete the corrective actions below by February 23, 2024:

  1. Create a login.gov account using the same email address as their National Registry account or sign into the National Registry with an existing login.gov account using the same email address as their National Registry account, through the National Registry website (select “Login”)
  2. Once logged in, correct all outdated contact information in their National Registry profile.

Medical examiners who do not complete these actions were removed from the National Registry on February 26, 2024.

Future Directions

FMCSA has been working on other enhancements to the National Registry and is preparing to launch a more robust ME performance monitoring and auditing program that includes both random and for cause auditing of MEs. This enhancement will provide FMCSA with the ability to quickly identify and take action to remove MEs who are not in compliance with the regulatory provisions for continued certification as an ME on the National Registry. FMCSA plans to release a webinar to highlight regulatory requirements that must be met by all certified MEs that will be published National Registry and FMCSA websites.

Looking further ahead, FMCSA continues to explore avenues for additional improvements of the National Registry. Collaborative efforts with MEs, industry stakeholders, and the broader public aim to foster a comprehensive and responsive approach to the medical certification of CMV drivers.

The rigor of FMCSA’s National Registry reflects a commitment to enhancing the safety and well-being of CMV drivers.

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FMCSA

Our primary mission is to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.