At least 2,000 commercial truck drivers will need to be medically re-certified in order to continue operating after the federal government today said it would revoke the medical certificates issued to drivers in the past two years by an Alabama chiropractor who was arrested and indicted on multiple criminal offenses.
Dr. Kenneth G. Edwards, who had been certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to perform medical exams, was charged in late February by a federal grand jury with conspiracy, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, making false statements, and falsification of federal records, according to FMCSA. A U.S. Department of Transportation investigation found that while listed on government records as a certified medical examiner, Edwards "exhibited a pattern whereby examinations were incomplete, required tests were not performed, and information on medical examination forms was falsified," FMCSA said today.
Most of the affected drivers reside in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, although they could be domiciled anywhere in the U.S., according to Duane DeBruyne, an FMCSA spokesman. FMCSA and state driver's licensing agencies are working to obtain contact information for all of the drivers. Drivers will have 30 days from the date that notification letters are mailed to obtain a certificate from a certified medical examiner, FMCSA said.
By law, commercial truck drivers must be examined and cleared every two years or less to keep their commercial driver's licenses (CDLs). Examinations must be conducted by trained and certified professionals listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
Many state licensing boards allow chiropractors to conduct federally sanctioned medical screening exams providing they meet various criteria, which include being registered on the national registry. FMCSA removed Edwards' name from the registry last Dec. 5.
For independent drivers, who spend much of their lives on the road and don't get paid unless the wheels are turning, finding and scheduling a medical exam can be an arduous process. It may be even more of an imposition for the drivers whom Edwards had examined and cleared, given the short time window they will have to become re-certified.