The Screening Effectiveness of the Commercial Driver's Medical Examination

Principal Investigator:

Stephen Burks, Associate Professor, Economics


Project Summary:

Medical Examination (CDME) and associated Medical Examiners (MEs) were certifying medically unfit--and hence unsafe--commercial motor vehicle operators. The Registry and the new medical examination form went into effect in 2014.

Perhaps surprisingly, as of yet there has been no systematic attempt to estimate the effectiveness of the new regime, nor compare it statistically to the old one, as a screening tool for safety-relevant medical conditions. This is because it is very difficult to obtain individually-identified records on commercial drivers that include both the results of their CD examinations and independent and objective measures of their actual medical conditions (i.e., independently generated medical records).

UMM's Truckers and Turnover Project has developed the access to such data from a participating motor carrier, and the expertise to handle it. (See, for example, paper cited below in "Partnerships"). We propose to take two significant steps with regard to these data. The first is to analyze pre-Registry data to establish the first-ever formal benchmark for the screening effectiveness of the original CDME with regard to specific safety-relevant medical conditions (obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and between one and three other conditions, such as hypertension). This will be of independent national significance, as even the Congress did not have access to such a systematic analysis during its deliberations. The second is to construct a data set based upon post-Registry data from the same motor carrier, and prepare an exploratory analysis of this data set, in preparation for submitting a proposal to the FMCSA to fund a future companion study of the screening effectiveness of the post-Registry CDME.


Project Details:

  • Start date: 02/2018
  • Project Status: Active
  • Research Area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Safety, Trucking