Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Q. We have heard of an FTA regulation requiring transit operators to be taken off duty for 60 days after a heart attack. We would like to find the federal regulation that addresses that issue. Can you help?
A. As a grant-making agency, FTA has few regulations that directly affect individual drivers, except for the drug and alcohol testing provisions.
FMCSA considered a proposal to address accidents caused by commercial vehicle drivers who went back to work immediately following a heart attack, only to have a second one while on the road, resulting in the deaths of others. Highway safety advocates believed that it was too easy for commercial vehicle drivers to shop around for a doctor who would sign off on a physical certification that would allow them to retain their CDLs - especially when that certification would be valid for a two-year period.
Predictably, safety advocates and industry advocates were unable to reach a compromise, so no Federal regulation was issued. However, some trucking firms (and public agencies), in their role as employers, have required mandatory rest periods and return-to-work certifications signed by a designated physician (i.e., selected from a list of the agency's approved doctors) before allowing a heart attack victim to return to work.
You may call FMCSA's regional office in Olympia at 360-753-9875 if you have any additional questions. The regional office should be able to provide you with written materials as well.