Medical Review Board
In early 2006, as required by a separate provision of The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established a Medical Review Board (MRB) to provide advice and recommendations to the agency on the physical qualification standards for diabetes and about a dozen other medical conditions.
The five-member MRB consists of physicians with specialties in occupational medicine, medical toxicology, neurology, orthopedic surgery, and sleep medicine.
The agency also convened a diabetes panel to review evidence specific to commercial driving and diabetes.
- Announcement of Establishment of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Medical Review Board, (PDF) Federal Register volume 70, page 57642, Oct. 3, 2005
The diabetes panel members — all board certified endocrinologists who treat people with diabetes — met for three days in August 2006 and presented recommendations to the MRB concerning the safety of commercial driving by people with diabetes.
The panel unanimously agreed that people with diabetes do not pose an unacceptable risk for a motor vehicle crash and recommended that the agency adopt regulations that do not restrict an individual's ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle based on diabetes or insulin use.
The panel also recommended that the treating physician as well as an agency-appointed endocrinologist be involved in the decision whether to certify the individual for interstate commercial driving.
Read the panel's report to the MRB:
- Expert Panel Commentary and Recommendations: Diabetes and Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Safety, (PDF) (Sept. 8, 2006)
The panel presented these recommendations to the MRB in a public meeting in November 2006.
MRB's New Restriction
At their July 26, 2007 public meeting, the MRB issued its recommendations about the diabetes standard to the agency, including a recommendation that insulin-treated commercial drivers be certified for interstate driving — outside the current exemption process — if they meet certain medical criteria similar to what is currently required for a diabetes exemption.
Unfortunately, the MRB also recommended restricting insulin-treated commercial drivers from operating vehicles transporting passengers or hazardous materials.
The Association strongly opposes this aspect of the MRB's recommendation.