Ritalin, prescribed for attention deficit disorder, is one of the Schedule II drugs causing concern.

Ritalin, prescribed for attention deficit disorder, is one of the Schedule II drugs causing concern.

The doctors who advise the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are recommending closer scrutiny of drivers using Schedule II drugs.

At the request of the agency, the Medical Review Board looked at the risks and benefits of these medications, which range from opioids that are used in prescription pain relievers to stimulants used to treat attention deficit disorder.

Drivers are permitted to work while taking these drugs, provided the drugs are prescribed by a doctor who is familiar with the driver’s condition.

The board found that drivers using opioids have at least a moderately higher level of risk. And the stimulants used to counteract attention deficit reduce the risk associated with that condition but can substantially increase risk if they are not closely monitored.

The board also found that other medications not on the Schedule II list may affect driver performance but are not well studied.

The board will present these findings to the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee next week. The committee, made up of representatives from industry and the enforcement and safety advocacy communities, is preparing recommendations to the agency on the issue.

The agency asked the board and committee to recommend ways to ensure that medical examiners understand the underlying conditions that lead to the Schedule II prescriptions, and can determine if the driver is qualified.

The two panels will meet in Alexandria, Va., on Monday. Their final report is due by the end of the year.

Also on the agenda at the committee meeting is discussion of carrier insurance requirements and the status of U.S.-Mexican cross-border trucking.

About the author
Oliver Patton

Oliver Patton

Former Washington Editor

Truck journalist 36 years, who joined Heavy Duty Trucking in 1998 and has retired. He was the trucking press’ leading authority on legislative and regulatory affairs.

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