The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would require information from medical certificates be merged with commercial driver’s licenses.

By centralizing the driver’s medical certificate electronically, law enforcement officials could check driver credentials more efficiently while both drivers and carriers would be relieved of the burden of carrying around the certificate, FMCSA said.

Under the proposal, CDL holders would be required to provide a copy of their medical examiner’s certificate to their State Driver Licensing Agency. That agency would input the medical certificate information into the Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS).

FMCSA proposes to enforce the requirements of this rule three years after the effective date of the final rule to give states enough time to prepare their information systems.

Once this rule goes into effect, CDL drivers will no longer be required to carry their medical examiner’s certificate, since it could be verified electronically. FMCSA believes the rule will come at no cost to motor carriers since they will no longer be responsible for maintaining the medical certificate in their driver qualification file.

In addition to granting law enforcement officials easier access to driver’s medical certification, drivers will be less likely to engage in forgery since they would have to provide their medical certificate to a government official, rather than a motor carrier, FMCSA said. This in turn could prevent as many as 10% of the crashes attributed to physically unqualified drivers, FMCSA added.

To read the NPRM, go to http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20061800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2006/E6-19246.htm

To comment on this article, write to Terrence Nguyen at tnguyen@fleetowner.com