DOT Exam Victory for Calif. DCs
By Editorial Staff
Despite the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration releasing its final rule for the much-anticipated National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners, which includes doctors of chiropractic among the health care providers eligible to provide commercial driver's license (CDL) physicals beginning April 2014, California law needed an update.
AB 722 provided that opportunity and became law in late August with Gov. Jerry Brown's signature. The legislation, introduced by Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal and co-sponsored by the California Chiropractic Association and Southern California University of Health Sciences, allows California DCs who are members of the national registry to perform physicals on all applicants for an original or renewal certificate to drive a school bus, school pupil activity bus, youth bus, paratransit vehicle, or farm labor vehicle. Prior to AB 722's passage, California chiropractors could provide such exams for all categories except school bus drivers under the age of 65.
"To comply with federal regulations, we're going to need thousands of certified examiners in California alone," said Lowenthal, who chairs the Assembly Transportation Committee, in a Aug. 27 press release posted on her website. "AB 722 will help fill the gap, allowing bus drivers better access to trained and qualified medical examiners in communities across the state."
According to an analysis of the bill, "In 1992, federal guidelines were modified to allow a licensed physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or chiropractor to perform physical examinations on commercial vehicle drivers. Several years later, inconsistencies in the vehicle code pertaining to these federal regulations were uncovered which, as a result, prohibited these professions from conducting physical examinations on this category of commercial drivers. DMV then modified its physical examination forms and examiner guidelines so that only medical doctors could carry out specific driver exams for school buses, school pupil activity buses, youth buses, general public paratransit vehicles, and farm laborer vehicles.
"Over time, state law has been amended to allow chiropractors to perform physical examinations on all other categories of commercial drivers including trucks, public transit vehicles, and ambulances. State law was further amended to allow chiropractors to perform physical [exams] on school bus drivers 65 years of age or older. As a result, school bus drivers under 65 years of age are the last remaining group of drivers which are prohibited from receiving a physical [exam] from chiropractors."
For more information on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners, please visit https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/.