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New rule requires certification for doctors performing medical exams on truckers

Truckers and others with commercial driver's licenses are required to undergo regular medical examinations. These exams are intended to screen for issues that would make driving a truck unsafe (like sleep apnea, a condition that may cause drowsy driving).

Regular medical exams make a lot of sense from a safety perspective. Screening truckers for medical problems might reduce the number of truck accidents on the roadways.

But as Sarah Gorvin reports for the Republican Eagle, some doctors are more forgiving than others when it comes to the exam. Some won't even perform a proper physical before they give the all-clear for a truck driver to get behind the wheel.

And, that obviously runs contrary to the purpose of a regular medical exam for folks with commercial driver's licenses, so the U.S. Department of Transportation has issued new rules that "level the playing field" among competing doctors.

Here's what the new rule looks like:

  • Starting May 2014, only certified doctors can perform the medical exam and issue the medical card
  • To get certified, doctors must do training and take a test, preparing the doctor to look for medical problems associated with truck drivers, including sleep apnea, diabetes and eye strain

As Gorvin reports, one doctor said, "Basically up to now ... any provider, medical doctor, chiropractor - they can do the DOT physical."

The new rule is set to change that - and hopefully reduce the number of accidents caused by medical problems.

Source: New regulations will require bus, truck drivers to get certified exams

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