FMCSA Medical Review Board Advances Plan for Drivers with Monocular Vision

FMCSA vision exemption program and Drivers with Monocular Vision

Last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Medical Review Board approved a proposal to eliminate the exemption process for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers with monocular vision.

When finalized, the amendment would permit an individual who cannot meet either the current distant visual acuity or field of vision standard or both, in one eye to be physically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce under specified conditions.

Currently, a driver who does not have a correctable 20/40 vision in both their left and right eyes, by wearing prescription glasses or contact lenses, would be disqualified from operating a CMV in interstate commerce unless they received a vision exemption.

Specific automatic medically disqualified conditions can be found under 49 CFR Part 391.41.

The current standard requires drivers to have:

  • A distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in each eye without corrective lenses or visual acuity separately corrected to 20/40 (Snellen) or better with corrective lenses.
  • A distant binocular acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in both eyes with or without
    corrective lenses.
  • A field of vision of at least 70 degrees in the horizontal Meridian in each eye.
  • The ability to recognize the colors of traffic signals and devices showing standard red,
    green, and amber.

FMCSA vision exemption program

The current FMCSA vision exemptionprogram is for monocular vision.

The waiver currently in place has been granting drivers with vision in only one eye since 1998 and is estimated that over 2,500 interstate drivers hold an FMCSA vision exemption.

The vision exemption is issued for a maximum of 2 years and is renewable. Provisions of the vision exemption include an annual medical exam and an eye exam by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist.

At the annual recertification exam, the driver should present the current vision exemption and a copy of the specialist’s eye exam report. The medical examiner will certify the qualified driver, usually for one year, and issue a medical exam certificate with the vision exemption marked on the form.

The driver is responsible to carry both the vision exemption and the medical exam certificate while driving and keeping both current and up to date.

What is changing with the FMCSA vision exemption program?

An alternative vision standard would involve a two-step process for physical qualification.

  1. A prospective driver seeking physical qualification would obtain a vision evaluation from an ophthalmologist or optometrist. The findings would provide specific medical information and opinions on a proposed Vision Evaluation Report.
  2. A medical examiner would perform an examination and determine whether the individual meets the proposed vision standard along with FMCSA’s physical qualification standards. If the medical examiner determines that the individual meets the physical qualification standards, the medical examiner could issue a Medical Examiner’s Certificate for a maximum of 12 months.

With some limited exceptions, individuals initially physically qualified under the alternative standard would be required to complete a road test by a prospective employer motor carrier before operating a CMV in interstate commerce.

The approved proposal would grandfather provision for drivers currently operating under the vision waiver study program.


Why choose CNS for my DOT physical?

CNS offers DOT physical exams on-site at our Lititz, PA location with our Certified Medical Examiner (CME). For more flexibility, we offer mobile DOT physicals to companies that qualify. Find out if your company qualifies now.

We are efficient in scheduling appointments and respect your time, preventing you from having long wait times in crowded waiting rooms. We also have competitive rates, and we understand your budget and operating costs as a driver and/or company.

The CNS Occupational Medicine staff is experienced and friendly, and our CMEs are professionals that will effectively evaluate your status.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

CDL Driver Preparation for a DOT Physical Exam and Possible Disqualifications

What to bring for a DOT Physical Exam?

The entire process for getting a DOT physical goes much smoother for both the examiner and the driver when drivers are prepared for the physical exam. 

Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exams ensure that drivers are in good health to do their job safely. The federal regulations require all drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to pass a physical to obtain a DOT medical card.

A DOT physical, also called a CDL physical, is a test of your general health, mental and emotional well-being and are required for drivers at trucking, construction, local delivery, waste and recycling, moving, passenger transportation, distribution, and other companies.

If you are scheduled for a DOT Physical Exam you will need to bring your current driver’s license, updated address card (if applicable), and your current medical card.

In addition, if you are being treated by a medical provider for any of the below conditions, additional information may be needed for qualification and we recommend that it be brought along with you.

 

What can you expect during the DOT physical exam?

Once you arrive to the exam location, paperwork will need to be completed for the exam.

A urine sample will be collected that will check for blood, protein, and sugar in your urine. This sample is not for a drug screen.

A nurse will see you and the following will be performed: 

  • height and weight
  • eye exam
  • hearing exam
  • blood pressure and pulse
  • oxygen saturation
  • temperature
  • body mass index, and
  • neck circumference

Next you will see the medical examiner for your physical and determination. If any additional information is needed, you will be given instructions and will have 45 days to have the documentation faxed or brought in for review.

 

Are there automatic health disqualifications for a CDL driver?

Yes, there are five main automatic disqualifications for specific medical conditions. According to federal regulations under 49 CFR 391.4, the five conditions are:

  1. hearing loss,
  2. vision loss,
  3. epilepsy,
  4. insulin use to treat diabetes, and
  5. use of any habit-forming drugs, including narcotics and amphetamines.

Regarding vision loss, if you do not have a correctable 20/40 vision in both your eyes, then you will be disqualified medically. Correctable vision are glasses or contacts and will be noted during the exam.

Drivers can receive diabetes and vision exemptions to drive a CMV safely.

The vision exemption is issued for a maximum of two years and is renewable but requires an annual medical and eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. The motor carrier is responsible for ensuring that the driver has the required documents before driving a CMV and the driver is responsible for carrying both the current vision exemption and current medical certificate while driving.

Some other temporary disqualifications include cardiovascular issues and psychological disorders.

Cardiovascular disqualification requires the CMV driver “to exhibit higher than acceptable likelihood of acute incapacitation from a cardia event, resulting in increased risk to the safety and health of the driver and the public.” Examiners will explain why you might be temporarily or permanently disqualified from getting a medical certificate.

Some psychological or personality disorders can directly affect memory, reasoning, attention, and judgement. “Disorders of a periodically incapacitating nature, even in the early stages of development, may warrant disqualification.”

When disqualification is made, the driver may be given steps to help fix the condition and possibly be restored to medical fitness of duty.

The examiner may also include a recommended waiting period before the examiner can authorize qualification. The driver will be disqualified from driving a CMV until the required steps and additional exam authorizes qualification.

Drivers who take any prescribed medications:

Drivers need to bring a complete list of prescribed medications, doses, and the providers contact information.

 

Additional information to bring to a DOT physical exam

Drivers who have diabetes:

Drivers need to bring a copy of their last lab work which includes fasting blood sugar and HGA1C. Results should be from within the last 4 months. If they have a journal of your finger sticks, have that available for the exam. Those who are using insulin, please call into the office for further instructions.

Drivers who have high blood pressure:

Drivers who are being treated for high blood pressure should have the last visit note from their provider regarding their high blood pressure and blood pressure readings. Drivers should have blood work not older than 6 months (routine blood work done on High blood pressure patients, creatinine, BUN, fasting glucose, Electrolytes and ECG if 1 year or less old).

A complete list of medications used to control high blood pressure and any at home readings should be available for review during the exam.

Drivers who are required to wear eyeglasses, contact lenses, or hearing devices:

Drivers should be sure to have their glasses with them or contact lenses in place, and hearing devices for the exam.

Drivers who have heart related issues, past or current:

Drivers will need to bring documentation from their cardiologist that reviews medical history, lab work and cardiac testing. In some cases, the driver may need to bring the results of a recent ECHO cardiogram, stress test or any other required testing that has been completed within the past 1-2 years. Please call the office for further instructions and the cardiac clearance form that your provider will need to complete.

Drivers with sleep apnea:

Drivers that are currently using a CPAP machine for sleep apnea will need to bring in a printout of their usage for the last 365 days that shows usage compliance greater than 4 hours; at least 70% of the time, per night. If you have questions regarding this, please call the office for further instructions.

Drivers who are under mental health treatment:

Some mental health treatment requires medications that need to be reviewed by the medical examiner.  A special form may need to be completed by the treating provider before determination can be made on the safety of operating a CMV. Please call the office for further instructions and to obtain the proper forms to have completed.

Drivers who have recently completed a SAP program:

Drivers who have completed a SAP Program need to bring their clearance forms and any documentation that shows verification of completion. For additional questions, please contact the office.

 

Why choose CNS for my DOT physical?

CNS offers DOT physical exams at our location in Lititz, PA with our Certified Medical Examiner (CME), and we also have mobile DOT physicals available. We know your time and money is valuable, which is why we have flexible availability during the week and the weekend.

We are efficient in scheduling appointments and respect your time, preventing you from having long wait times in crowded waiting rooms. We also have competitive rates, and we understand your budget and operating costs as a driver and/or company.

The CNS Occupational Medicine staff is experienced and friendly, and our CMEs are professionals that will effectively evaluate your status.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

Medical Card and CDL Extension Pushed To Feb 28

CDL and Medical Card Waiver | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration extended a waiver through May 31, 2021, giving drivers more time to renew expired CDLs, CLPs and med certs because of difficulty scheduling DOT physicals and driver’s license renewals due staffing shortages and other issues.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the FMCSA feared drivers would have trouble renewing commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learners permit (CLP) or getting DOT physicals for their medical cards.

So, earlier this year the FMCSA announced a waiver for CDL holders, CLP holders, and non-CDL drivers transporting essential supplies and equipment during the pandemic that would allow them to delay renewing medical cards and CDLs until December 31st, 2020.

This deadline has been pushed to February 28th.

If you have been driving essential supplies and equipment during the pandemic and referring to the waiver to delay renewing licenses or medical cards, renewals could be delayed.

What CDL holders need to do before Feb 28, 2020

  • If your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) was up for renewal on or after March 1, 2020, you need to renew it by February 28.
  • If your medical examination and certification (or med card) expired on or after June 1, 2020, you have until February 28, to schedule a DOT physical and have it renewed.

What CLP holders need to do before Dec 31, 2020

  • If your Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) was up for renewal on or after March 1, 2020, you need to renew it by February 28, which requires the CLP holders to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests.
  • If your medical examination and certification (or med card) expired on or after June 1, 2020, you have until February 28, to schedule a DOT physical and have it renewed.

What non-CDL holders need to do before Dec 31, 2020

  • If your medical examination and certification (or med card) expired on or after June 1, 2020, you have until February 28, to schedule a DOT physical and have it renewed.

The HOS portion of the waiver has been extended to Feb 28, 2021 and expanded to include vaccine distribution. Read the latest here

The FMCSA also issued an Enforcement Notice, explaining that it will not take enforcement action against drivers and motor carriers that fall under the terms of the waiver. However, we have seen some roadside enforcement still give violations out when drivers are meeting the waiver guidelines.


CNS Can Help With DOT Physicals, DataQs, and More

Incorrect violations can be challenged and our DataQ process and our DOT consultants are well-versed in the FMCSA rules and regulations, with specific knowledge on what officers are required to note in their report. We are able to challenge one DataQ or schedule a monthly review of all roadside inspections and report on which violations can be challenged.

Our DOT Compliance Specialists can help with DataQ’s. You can call 888.260.9448 to talk to a specialist or request more information in the form above.

CNS collection sites and network of collection sites are open for DOT physicals and required drug and alcohol testing.

Schedule your DOT Physical or Drug Test Online

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

PennDOT Extends Physical Exam Waiver for Bus Drivers

school bus driver physical exam waiver

School bus drivers who need a new physical have until July 31, 2020 to complete one

In response to the request submitted by the Pennsylvania School Bus Association, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation granted the extension to waive the annual physical exam requirement for school bus drivers under 67 Pa. Code §71.3.

The waiver applies to any school bus driver with proof of a valid physical exam that expired on or after March 13, 2020.

School bus drivers who need a new physical exam have until July 31, 2020 to complete one.

According to PennDOT, this waiver does not apply to:

  • drivers who cannot provide proof of physical exam expiring after March 13, 2020;
  • new drivers who have never competed a physical exam;
  • drivers who have been diagnosed with a medical condition that would disqualify the driver from operating a school bus, since their last physical exam;
  • drivers who have developed a condition that requires a medical waiver, since their last physical exam; and
  • drivers required to undergo additional 3-month examinations under 67 Pa. Code §71.3(b)(4)(B)(I) unless the driver has completed the required 3-month exam.

A school bus driver should be able to satisfactorily perform the following activities demonstrating the school bus driver meets the intent of this section:

  • Walk around a school bus
    • Pennsylvania school buses have a maximum length of 45 feet and width of 102 inches. Drivers should be able to satisfactory walk at least 107 feet without problem.
  • Bend to check underneath the bus unassisted by any medical apparatus
    • The bottom of a school bus chassis is typically three (3) feet off the ground.
  • Climb and descend the school bus steps—normally 3 steps—which are each 12-16 inches high.
  • While using the right foot only, alternate between the service brake and accelerator
    • Necessary strength and flexibility to operate all controls with hands and feet.
  • Hold the service brake—the main brake on the bus—with the right foot with 40-60 lbs. of force for 60 seconds.
  • Move quickly and easily from the driver’s seat, through the aisle, and exit the rear emergency exit of the school bus.
    • School bus aisles have a minimum clearance of 11 and 3/4 inches wide, with a typical clearance of 15 inches.

School bus drivers are responsible for the safe transportation of our most precious cargo, our children. It is imperative that every school bus driver is physically capable of not only safely operating the school bus, but also performing critical safety functions in the event of an emergency while operating that school bus.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.


FMCSA Extends Expiring CDL and Medical Card Waiver

FMCSA has extended a temporary CDL and medical card waiver if expiring after March 1, 2020

CDL and Medical Card Waiver Extended Until May 31, 2021, Due To COVID-19

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended a temporary waiver that deals with expired commercial drivers licenses (CDLs) and medical cards after March 1st, 2020, due to the COVID-19 health emergency.

The extended waiver now gives drivers until September 30, 2020 to renew their commercial driver’s licenses, commercial learner’s permits and medical cards. This extension only applies to drivers whose CDL, CLP or medical card expired on or after March 1.

Additionally, drivers with an expired medical card are required to carry a paper copy of the expired medical card until it is renewed and drivers with DOT medical cards, issued for at least 90 days, that expire after March 1, 2020 may continue to operate without a new DOT physical exam.

The original temporary FMCSA waiver was set to expire June 30. However, the government recognized that state licensing facilities and medical offices performing DOT physicals may be closed or have restricted hours or staffing.

The FMCSA also issued an Enforcement Notice, explaining that it will “exercise its enforcement discretion to not take enforcement action” against drivers and motor carriers that fall under the terms of the waiver. However, we have seen some roadside enforcement still give violations out when drivers are meeting the waiver guidelines.

Compliance Navigation Specialists can help with DataQ’s, Call 888.260.9448 to talk to a specialist.

These incorrect violations can be challenged with the DataQ process and CNS can help. Our consultants are well-versed in the FMCSA rules and regulations, as well as what an officer is required to note on their report. Whether you would like our consultants to challenge one Data-Q, or review all roadside inspections monthly to report which violations are able to be challenged – we have a cost effect solution for your company.

Regarding accident reporting, each employer must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of an accident involving any driver operating under the terms of this waiver. For more information on accident reporting during the waiver, go to the FMCSA press release.

CNS collection sites and network of collection sites are open for DOT physicals and required drug and alcohol testing. Schedule a DOT physical or drug test by calling CNS today at 888.260.9448.


DOT Compliance Services

Simplify the entire physical, drug consortium and DQF process

Our complete Proactive Safety Management (PSM) program has been organized to get you through an FMCSA audit by managing your driver qualification files, drug consortium, Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), vehicle maintenance and more.

Whether you are a large trucking company that is onboarding drivers quickly or a construction outfit with multiple trucks in your fleet, you need to stay aware of FMCSA regulations.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

FMCSA waives CDL, medical certification renewal regs


Waived through June 30

Due to the effects of COVID-19, the US Department of Transportation will not enforce certain licensing and medical certification renewal regulations for drivers whose credentials expired on or after March 1, 2020.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a waiver Tuesday extending commercial driver’s license and commercial learner’s permit validity until June 30 for those that expire on or after March 1. CLP holders will not be required to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests if utilizing the waiver.

The notice also waives the requirement for drivers to have a medical exam or certification, as long as the drivers have proof of a valid medical certification that was issued for at least 90 days and expired on or after March 1.

The waiver follows President Trump’s national emergency declaration on March 13 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. FMCSA says a number of states have more employee absences than normal or closed offices, making it difficult for commercial drivers to renew their licenses. Additionally, FMCSA notes many medical service providers have canceled regularly scheduled appointments, not allowing drivers to get appointments for DOT physicals with medical examiners.

In addition to the above waivers, the notice also:

  • Waives the requirement that CLP holders wait 14 days to take the CDL skills test.
  • Waives the requirement that truckers provide states with a medical examiner’s certificate, as long as they have proof of a valid med cert that expired on or after March 1.
  • Waives the requirement that states change drivers’ med cert status to “not certified” upon the expiration of the certificate if it expires after March 1.
  • Allows FMCSA to continue to recognize the validity of Canadian and Mexican commercial licenses when those jurisdictions issue similar notices extending license validity

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

Now Offering DOT CDL Physical Exams

CNS is now offering appointments for DOT medical card exams. The service will be provided at CNS headquarters, located at 38 Copperfield Circle, Lititz PA 17543 as well as onsite exams across PA for fleets. The service will also extend to PA School Bus medical exams.

Exam appointments can be scheduled Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each Month.

CNS has hired, John Reel, PA-C, MPAS, as our new Certified DOT Medical Examiner.     DOT CDL Physical Exams

John has 35 years of experience in emergency medicine, general surgery, family practice, pulmonary medicine, internal medicine, occupational medicine and urgent care. John was named one of 50 Physician Assistants Who Make A Difference Today by the National Commission of Certified Physician Assistants Health Foundation in 2017.

 

Schedule an exam today! Exams@cnsprotects.com or by calling 717.625.0280 Option 2