U.S. transportation regulators are proposing amendments to existing regulations to allow qualified Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) physicians to be included on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
The proposed changes are part of the agency’s push to ease the transition of military personnel into civilian careers driving commercial motor vehicles at a time when the commercial trucking industry faces a national shortage of qualified drivers.
After successful completion of an FMCSA-developed training and testing program conducted through the VA, the physicians would become certified to perform medical examinations of prospective truck drivers and issue Medical Examiner’s Certificates to military veterans. By law, all commercial drivers must be examined by an FMCSA-certified physician and pass a driver fitness exam.
The proposed amendments mandate that VA physicians who wish to become FMCSA-approved medical examiners be employed in the VA system, be familiar with FMCSA’s standards for drivers and the physical requirements they must meet, and never have “acted fraudulently” with respect to such certification.
In October, the FMCSA announced new rules simplifying the process for veterans obtaining a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) or commercial driver’s license (CDL).
That rule extends the period of time for applying for a commercial motor vehicle skills test waiver from 90 days to one year after leaving a military position. It also allows states to accept applications from active duty military personnel who are stationed in that state and to administer the written and skills tests for a CLP or CDL.
The FMCSA also announced in October that it was awarding nearly $1 million in grants to seven technical and community colleges across the country to help train veterans and their families for jobs as commercial bus and truck drivers.