FMCSA Updates Certification Process for Commercial Drivers Who Have Insulin treated Diabetes

Michelle Hopkins

Effective November 19, 2018, Concentra’s certified medical examiners have begun asking insulin-treated individuals with diabetes mellitus to provide Form MCSA-5870 prior to receiving a Department of Transportation (DOT) exam.

Form MCSA-5870 is a result of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) eliminating the federal exemption program for commercial drivers with properly controlled diabetes and a stable insulin regimen.

It has also eliminated previous requirements for an annual vision exam and quarterly visits to an endocrinologist.

What to expect

Going forward, commercial drivers who have insulin-treated diabetes will be required to visit their treating clinicians 45 days or less before visiting a certified medical examiner to receive a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) allowing them to drive. Drivers with stable insulin regimens and properly controlled diabetes will receive the new FMCSA Form MCSA-5870 from their treating clinicians to take to the certified medical examiner with a copy of their Hemoglobin A1C tests. 

Three months of blood glucose self-monitoring records must be shown to the treating clinician before the new MEC form is issued. Drivers who do not have three months of glucose logs may be granted a certification for up to three months to allow time to collect the logs before returning to the treating clinician.

Qualified commercial drivers who currently have a federal exemption must comply with the new rule by November 19, 2019. After that date, their certifications will expire.

The new rule prohibits the certification of:

  • Drivers who have insulin-treated diabetes with stage 3 (severe non-proliferative) diabetic retinopathy
  • Drivers who have insulin-treated diabetes with stage 4 (severe proliferative) diabetic retinopathy
  • Drivers who received their commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) from Canada or Mexico
  • Drivers who have diabetes complications that potentially interfere with safety, such as kidney failure or severe neuropathy

If a certified driver has a severe hypoglycemic episode in which consciousness is lost or help from another individual is needed, the new rule requires a new examination by the treating clinician.

A new Form MCSA-5870 is to be issued only when the treating clinician determines the episode has been addressed, the insulin regimen is stable, and the diabetes is properly controlled once again. A return visit to the medical examiner is not required by the rule.

If you have questions about this change or want to learn more about Concentra® DOT physicals, contact us today.