Traveling the highways throughout Tennessee has become more dangerous over the past several years. Motorists face not only the hazards posed by adverse conditions, but also from the negligence of fellow travelers. Recently, concerns have been expressed regarding the medical qualifications of commercial drivers who may pose a serious risk of causing serious personal injury to innocent victims.

Recently, the federal Office of the Inspector General with the Department of Transportation informed officials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that it would be conducting an immediate audit of the medical licensing program under FMCSA’s jurisdiction. One of the reasons cited for conducting the audit is the alarming rise in trucking accidents over the past several years. According to government statistics, there has been an estimated 11 percent increase in the number of fatal wrecks involving commercial vehicles since 2012. The OIG memo referenced the fact that there have been several criminal investigations into these wrecks involving fraud within the medical licensing program.

The OIG cited a case from 2014 that revealed fraud in the medical certification program. As a result, approximately 600 drivers were forced to seek another renewal of their medical certifications. The OIG stated a two-fold goal of its audit; it seeks to verify the quality of FMCSA’s medical certification program and to ensure that information entered into the national registry system is correct.

Any driver who seeks a Commercial Drivers License is required to undergo a Department of Transportation physical examination in order to ascertain an individual’s fitness to operate a large commercial vehicle. This certification is valid for 24 months and must be issued by a federally-approved medical provider. Victims who have suffered serious injuries in a Tennessee accident often sustain significant financial losses in addition to their physical injuries. If evidence points to negligence on the part of another party, then victims may seek recompense for monetary damages incurred through a personal injury civil lawsuit.