American Trucking Associations asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for a 6-month delay in the start date for the medical examiner registry.
The agency has set May 21 for when all driver medical exams have to be done by an examiner who is certified to the new National Registry standards, but ATA and others are concerned that there may not be enough certified examiners to handle the work by that date.
ATA told the agency it has serious concerns about the number and availability of qualified medical examiners, especially in rural areas.
The agency has not yet responded to the request but spokesman Duane DeBruyne said in a statement that FMCSA is closely monitoring the situation.
“Currently, more than 21,600 medical professionals have passed the exam to be added to the registry,” he said.
“More than 4,000 are scheduled to take the test prior to May 21. Thus, of the approximately 46,000 medical examiners signed up on the registry, more than 50% will be certified and in position to conduct driver exams by May 21.”
He added that there are certified examiners in every state, and dozens or hundreds in most cities. Also, he said, most drivers will not need a new physical exam right away. Certificates are valid until the expiration date on the card.