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On May 28, 2013, about 1:59 p.m., a 2003 Mack Granite three-axle roll-off straight truck, operated by Alban Waste, LLC, was traveling northwest on a private road in Rosedale, Maryland, toward a private highway–railroad grade crossing. The grade crossing consisted of two tracks and was marked on each side with a crossbuck sign. The truck was carrying a load of debris to a recycling center located 3.5 miles from the carrier terminal. About the same time, a CSX Transportation Company (CSXT) freight train—which consisted of two locomotives, 31 empty cars, and 14 loaded cars—was traveling southwest at a recorded speed of 49 mph. As the train approached the crossing, the train horn sounded three times. The truck did not stop; and as the train traversed the crossing, it struck the truck on the right side, causing the truck to rotate and overturn before coming to rest on the earthen embankment on the northwest side of the tracks. The first 15 cars of the 45-car train derailed.
TO THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Develop a system whereby the authority responsible for issuing commercial driver medical certification will be notified when Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration investigators discover violations that could result in a driver’s medical disqualification.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Acceptable Action
Rosedale, MD, United States
Highway-Railroad Grade Crossing Collision
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FMCSA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Safety Recommendation History
-From T.F. Scott Darling, III, Chief Counsel: NTSB has recommended that FMCSA develop a system whereby the authority responsible for issuing commercial driver medical certification is notified when FMCSA investigators discover violations that could result in a driver's medical disqualification. The authority responsible for issuing commercial driver medical certification cons ists of certified medical examiners (ME). However, based on subsequent conversation with NTSB staff, FMCSA understands the intent of NTSB's safety recommendation is that FMCSA should establish a system to notify the State Driver's Licensing Agencies (SDLA) when a driver's medical examiner's certificate (MEC) has been invalidated or voided by FMCSA and to begin the process of downgrading the driver's COL. Under the authority granted by 49 U.S.C. 31149(c)(2), FMCSA may void an MEC issued to a CMV driver if it finds either that an ME has issued a certificate to a driver "who fails to meet the applicable physical qualification standards at the time of the examination" or "that [an ME] has falsely claimed to have completed training in physical and medical examination standards." FMCSA is the only entity with authority to "disqualify or restrict a driver's medical certification" once an MEC is issued to a driver. FMCSA has acted upon this authority on a case-by-case basis as appropriate to the circumstances, and the SDLA is notified when FMCSA investigators discover violations that result in a driver's medical disqualification. On April 20, 201 2, FMCSA published the final rule, "National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners" (National Registry). Enclosed is a copy of the final rule for your reference. The final rule requires CMV drivers to be examined by a certified ME listed on the National Registry. Only MEs that have completed training and successfully passed a test on FMCSA's physical qualification standards are certified and listed on the National Registry. The compliance date for the rule was May 21, 2014, and the rule has generated the need for strong, well-defined procedures to address the variety of scenarios that require investigation and potential enforcement action. A few examples of these scenarios are ME fraud, CMY drivers obtaining a medical examination from an ME not certified and listed on the National Registry, and MEs certifying a driver who should not be medically certified according to FMCSA regulations. FMCSA has developed internal processes for evaluating the validity of certificates in the wide variety of possible situations where such review appears to be appropriate under the statutory standard. This includes review of the data submitted by MEs to the National Registry, as well as complaints, field investigations, crash reports, and other sources. FMCSA provides the affected driver a notice of the proposed action to void the MEC and an opportunity either to obtain a new MEC, if appropriate, or to provide the Agency with any legal or factual reasons why a new MEC should not be required before voiding the MEC. If the decision is made to void the driver's MEC, FMCSA notifies the driver. If the driver holds a commercial learner's permit (CLP)/CDL, the SOLA is notified and the CLP/CDL holder's medical status is changed to "not certified" and the driver is notified of the action taken. FMCSA has already uncovered several instances where CLP/CDL drivers were issued an MEC inappropriately. Working with State enforcement officials and the U.S Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, the Agency took action to void over 3,000 MECs and notified the SDLAs to take appropriate action. Based on this experience and the knowledge that there are a variety of scenarios identified that may result in a driver's MEC being invalidated or voided, FMCSA is developing a pol icy memorandum defining action steps, assigning roles, and informing staff of the expectations for reporting invalid and/or voided MECs to the SOLAS so the driver's COL can be downgraded. The internal memorandum is in the final stage of development and provides guidance on steps FMCSA staff must take when confronted with a report that a driver's MEC is invalid or fraudulent. On May 10, 2013, FMCSA published the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), "Medical Examiner's Certification Integration." Enclosed is a copy of the NPRM for your reference. The purpose of the proposed rule is to faci litate the electronic transmission of MEC information from FMCSA's National Registry to the SOLAs, thereby reducing, to the greatest extent possible, the potential for the submission of falsified MECs. For holders of CDLs and CLPs, FMCSA proposed to electronically transmit driver identification, examination results, and restriction information from the National Registry to the SDLAs. Notifications would include medical examinations that have been voided by FMCSA because it finds that an ME has certified a driver who does not meet the physical certification standards. It also proposed to transmit to the SDLAs information about MECs for COL and CLP drivers that have been invalidated because a subsequent examination has found that the driver is not physically qualified. The SDLAs would record the driver's status on the Commercial Driver's License Information System driver record as "not certified" and begin the process of downgrading the COL in accordance with existing procedures. The driver's previous certifications would be invalidated because the driver was not physically qualified, and the driver would be required to be medically re-examined and certified before operating a CMY. FMCSA anticipates publishing the Medical Examiner's Certification Integration final rule in early 2015. Based on the information provided above, FMCSA requests NTSB classify safety recommendation H-14-29 as "Closed -Acceptable Action."
We note that you refined the medical certification process through the issuance of two final rules: (1) the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners, published on April 20, 2012, and (2) Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration, published on April 23, 2015, with corrections published on June 22, 2015. Together, the rules establish the recommended system to ensure that both your staff and the state drivers licensing authorities are promptly notified of changes to a commercial driver’s medical status. These actions reduce, to the greatest extent possible, the potential for the submission of falsified medical examiner certificates, ensure that a driver’s medical disqualification is entered in the Commercial Driver’s License Information System, and satisfy the intent of Safety Recommendation H-14-29, which is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.
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