Many in trucking believe the long-awaited final rule issued this week by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishing a National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) represents “a good first step” in an effort to create standards for the practitioners that medically certify truck drivers for work.

Yet it also creates burdensome paperwork issues for drivers and carriers as well, which industry experts hope will be solved going forward.

“On balance this rule is definitely a positive, but we don’t believe it should be the final step,” Boyd Stephenson, manager-safety and security operations for the American Trucking Assns.(ATA) trade group, told Fleet Owner.

The rule requires healthcare professionals who perform medical examinations for interstate truck and bus drivers to be trained, tested and certified on the specific physical qualifications that affect a driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle.

By May 21, 2014, all certified medical examiners must be on the NRCME database and drivers must obtain a medical examination from a certified examiner, FMCSA noted – stressing that medical examiners who fail to adhere to federal training standards will be removed from the registry.