DOT Inspector General to Audit FMCSA’s Medical Certification ProgramMarch 26, 2019
According to recent data from the Department of Transportation (DOT), there was an 11 percent increase in fatal truck accidents from 2012 to 2017. In response to this concerning spike in fatalities, the DOT Inspector General will be conducting an audit of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) medical certification program, to ensure that all commercial truck drivers meet the health requirements for operating a commercial vehicle.
The main objectives of the audit will be to conduct a thorough investigation into the FMCSA’s procedures, including the oversight of their medical certification program, and how they validate information in their National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
Addressing Concerns about Medical Examiners
According to the assistant inspector general for surface transportation audits, motor carrier safety depends on truck drivers who are healthy enough to operate a large commercial vehicle. However, after a criminal investigation conducted by the Office of Inspector General, since August 2014 there were eight indictments and six convictions due to fraud in the medical certification process. One indictment of a medical examiner in Georgia resulted in over 600 truck operators needing to renew their medical certifications.
In order to obtain a valid medical certification, commercial truck drivers must pass a physical exam. Unfortunately, someone hacked into the FMCSA’s medical certification process, which caused the medical examiner’s site to be shut down for months.
An FMCSA spokesperson said that certain areas of the site are up and running, but did not confirm whether the entire site is operational.
Delays in the Medical Certification Process
While no private or sensitive data was stolen, the site had to be completely rebuilt, which caused a year-long delay in the medical certification process. It caused other setbacks as well. For example, truck drivers would not be required to carry a medical card that proves that they passed all of their medical exams until June 2021, or the effective date of the final rule.
According to a privacy impact assessment of the website, the medical examiners database contains a wide range of potentially sensitive information, including medical exams administered to truck drivers.
Previous reports suggest that the information technology systems at the FMCSA and DOT may not adequately protect the “personal identifiable information,” and proactive steps should be taken to make the appropriate improvements.
For example, an Inspector General from the DOT released an audit in January, which urged the DOT’s chief privacy officer to create a continuous monitoring program for security controls. This would help ensure that the personal identifiable information systems are in compliance with the DOT’s privacy risk management policy.
In 2017, the Government Accountability Office reported that the FMCSA needed to improve their strategic planning and oversight in an effort to update their technology.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Truck Accident Victims
If you have been injured in a truck accident involving a truck driver who did not have a valid medical certificate, you are urged to contact the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will determine whether the truck driver had a medical condition that caused the accident. Our dedicated legal team will hold the negligent party responsible for their actions and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.