FMCSA’s medical certification program under audit by DOT

Spurred by a wake of criminal charges against medical examiners who have fraudulently issued DOT medical certificates to truck operators, the U.S. DOT’s Office of Inspector General announced Wednesday it is opening an audit to evaluate the DOT medical certification program. Of focus in the audit is the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners, implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2014. Since the August 2014 onset of the National Registry, there have been eight indictments and six convictions against medical examiners who have issued fraudulent certificates to drivers. In most cases, the examiner was issuing certificates without performing a full exam and, in some cases, the examiners uploaded fake exam results to FMCSA. Read more

DOT allows another major fleet to let pre-CDL operators drive team

C.R. England drivers who have passed the CDL skills test but not yet returned to their home state to obtain their CDL can continue to operate as team drivers rather than having a CDL holder in the front seat at all times following the extension of a regulations exemption.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced the extension of the exemption in a Federal Register notice set to be published Friday, Oct. 20. The exemption is now effective through June 12, 2022.

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DOT may alter protocol for diabetic truck drivers

Insulin-dependent diabetic truckers may no longer have to request a formal exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, should a new federal rule go into effect.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Monday it is seeking public comments on a revised 2015 rule eliminating the exemption requirement for insulin-dependent diabetic drivers. Instead, the rule would give individual medical examiners authority to grant or deny diabetic drivers their medical certificates.

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Bill to delay ELD mandate likely a non-starter in Congress

More than 21 members of the U.S. House have signed on as co-sponsors to the bill that would delay the compliance date of the looming electronic logging device mandate. The bill, if enacted, would give drivers and carriers two extra years to adopt ELDs by pushing the compliance deadline to December 2019.

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Delay for ELD mandate? Leading transportation attorney says not likely

House measure would require FMCSA study; Agency defends mandate

Hours after a House committee passed a measure requiring additional study on the pending electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, a leading transportation attorney downplayed the chances of a major overhaul.

Included in a Department of Transportation fiscal 2018 funding bill passed July 17 by the House Appropriations Committee was language requiring a look at “whether a full or targeted delay in ELD implementation and enforcement would be appropriate.”

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Truck driver shut down after two alcohol-related arrests in four-day span

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Tennessee-licensed truck driver Eric Ronald Scott to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce. Scott was served the federal order on January 18, 2016.

Since receiving his commercial driver’s license (CDL) from the state of Tennessee on October 26, 2016, Scott has been arrested in two separate alcohol-involved events spanning a four-day period.

On the morning of December 31, 2016, the Berlin, Vermont, Police Department, in response for assistance at a local hotel parking lot, subsequently found Scott asleep in the cab of his tractor-trailer. Following a preliminary breath test for alcohol that detected the presence of alcohol, Scott was arrested for domestic assault.

On January 2, 2017, Scott was released from police custody. The following evening, the Berlin, Vermont, Police Department responded to a multi-vehicle crash that involved a tractor-trailer operated by Scott. According to the police report, while en route to Burlington, Vermont, with a final destination of Memphis, Tennessee, Scott jackknifed his tractor-trailer, striking a stop sign and causing three passenger vehicles to be forced off the road. An alcohol breath test conducted by police at the scene on Scott detected the presence of alcohol. Scott was subsequently arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order to Scott states that his continued operation of a CMV in interstate commerce “ … substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or the motoring public if not discontinued immediately.”

Failure to comply with the provisions of a federal imminent hazard out-of-service order may result in action by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for equitable relief and punitive damages. Civil penalties of up to $3,100 may be assessed for each violation of operating a commercial motor vehicle in violation of the order. Knowing and/or willful violation of the order may also result in criminal penalties.

Scott also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by FMCSA for his violation of the agency’s safety regulations.
Updated: Thursday, February 2, 2017