Office of Inspector General (OIG) InitiatES AuDIT of FMCSA’s Oversight of Commercial Driver Medical Certificates
February 20, 2019
The U.S. DOT's Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced Wednesday that it is initiating an audit of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) oversight processes and controls for the medical certificate program and the quality of data submitted to the medical certificate database. Specifically, the OIG announced the audit will evaluate FMCSA’s oversight of the medical certification process and its protocol for verifying the information within the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME).
Since the FMCSA implemented the NRCME in 2014, there have been multiple criminal charges brought against medical examiners who have fraudulently issued DOT medical certificates to commercial motor vehicle drivers. In most of these cases, the medical examiner was issuing medical certificates without performing a full exam and, in some cases, the examiners uploaded fake exam results to the FMCSA. This caused the FMCSA to issue notices to thousands of drivers to renew their medical certification within 30 days due to the alleged fraud of these medical examiners.
The NRCME is part of a multi-part overhaul of the driver medical certification process that has continuously been delayed. The rule currently requires drivers to obtain their medical certificate from an FMCSA approved medical examiner. Medical examiners are required to complete training and pass a test to be listed in the registry. Eventually, medical certificates will be combined with drivers CDLs, with states tapping into the FMCSA’s database to find whether a driver’s medical certificate is current and valid. That portion of the overhaul has been delayed and is now scheduled to take effect in June 2021 if not delayed further.