Federal Update
Stil no trucker-savvy doc on FMCSA’s med regs board

By Charlie Morasch
staff writer


The advisory panel that recommends medical regulations for truckers has replaced two outgoing board members, yet the board continues to operate without any trucking viewpoint.

The two new members on the five-person body include:

  • Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Medical Officer of Waste Management Inc., and Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas, School of Public Health, and;
  • Dr. Carl Soderstrom, M.D., F.A.C.S., Professor of Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine, and member of the Surgery/Traumatology faculty of the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.

The board replacements were met with disappointment at OOIDA.

Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president, said the Association believes the medical interests of truckers would be best represented by having at least one board member with knowledge of trucking.

OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston and satellite radio host Dave Nemo have previously asked FMCSA to consider adding trucking physician Dr. John McElligott to the board.

“We think the Medical Review Board would be much more likely to do the optimum job with members that have experience in trucking – real world experience with the lifestyle, the demands of the job, and knowledge of health issues significant to truckers,” Spencer said.

Spencer pointed out that physicals performed on airline pilots, members of the military and professional athletes are overseen by specialists familiar with those occupations. The Medical Review Board, which recommends regulations to FMCSA, has no such real-world viewpoint.

“Clearly, those physicians that specialize in those areas that have knowledge – real working knowledge about the patients they treat – are in a much better position to make sound choices and decisions,” Spencer said. “We need that on the Medical Review Board.”

Board members are appointed to a two-year term and are eligible for reappointment based on FMCSA’s needs.

According to FMCSA, criteria for appointment to the MRB include “medical expertise in a medical specialty, an understanding of research methods, knowledge of transportation medical issues, experience on panels that develop medical standards, a record of scientific collaboration, professional service, and experience developing teaching programs.” LL