The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates interstate commercial
operations, including the drivers, the trucks and buses the drivers operate, the
motor carrier, and the transportation of hazardous materials in a quantity requiring
placards. A safety risk in any one or more of these commercial operations components
can endanger the safety and health of the public.
Approximately 6 to 7 million commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers are required
by law to comply with FMCSA physical qualification standards. Thus, an estimated
3 to 4 million physical examinations must be performed annually, with the demand
increasing every year.
In addition to medical fitness for duty certification, other regulations affecting
the CMV driver include drug and alcohol testing, record keeping, hours of service,
CMVs include trucks and buses subject to regulations governing inspection, repair,
Truck and Bus Companies
Motor carriers, both for-hire and private, must comply with FCMSA regulations governing
their drivers and minimum levels of financial responsibility.
In the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), the term "motor carrier"
- Agents for motor carriers.
- Employees responsible for the hiring, supervising, training, assigning,
and dispatching of drivers.
- Employees concerned with the installation, inspection, and maintenance
of motor vehicle equipment and accessories.
- Exempt motor carrier.
Motor carriers are responsible for ensuring that the driver meets the general qualification
requirements of 49 CFR 391.11. The driver must:
- Be at least 21 years old.
- Speak and read English well enough to:
- Converse with the general public.
- Understand highway/traffic signals.
- Respond to official questions.
- Make legible entries on reports.
- Be capable of safely operating the CMV.
- Have a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate on file.
- Have only one valid CMV operator’s license.
- Have provided the motor carrier with required background and violations
- Not be subject to disqualification to drive a CMV under the rules
in 49 CFR 391.15.
- Have successfully completed a driver’s road test or equivalent.
Commercial driver medical fitness for duty records must include all Federal physical
qualification requirements found on the Medical Examination Report form. Truck and
bus companies may also have additional medical requirements, such as a minimum lifting
capability. The driver could fail a motor carrier pre-employment driver certification
examination and still meet the Federal physical qualification requirements for certification
and issuance of a Medical Examiner's Certificate.
States regulate intrastate commerce and commercial drivers who are not subject to
Federal regulations. They are required, at a minimum, to adopt Federal physical
qualification requirements and may even have additional, different, or more stringent
requirements. Medical examiners are responsible for knowing the driver regulations
for the State or States in which they practice.