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Medical

Overview

All commercial drivers of vehicles in interstate commerce with a maximum gross vehicle weight rating of over 10,000 pounds (4,536 kilograms) are required to obtain and maintain a valid Medical Examiner's Certificate (ME Certificate) Commercial drivers who drive vehicles requiring a CDL have two additional requirements. On or before January 30, 2014, all CDL holders must declare to their State Driver Licensing Agency (SDLA) that they only operate or expect to operate commercially in 1 of 4 possible categories with their CDL. This process is called self-certification. For more information on the self-certification categories see the Self-Certification FAQ's.

CDL holders must provide their SDLA with a copy of their ME Certificate. This information is only being added to the State driving records of CDL holders. Non-CDL holders are not required to self-certify or submit a copy of their ME Certificate to their SDLA. CDL holders, who are found driving in a category other than one to which they self-certified, are subject to suspension or revocation of their commercial driving privileges. CDL drivers, who do not update the expiration date of their ME Certificate with their State, will have their commercial driving privileges downgraded, and will not be eligible to drive a commercial motor vehicle that requires a CDL.

Instructions on how your State is collecting your ME Certificate information:

To learn more about the medical requirements, click here to visit the Medical Programs page.

Self Certification FAQs

What is changing? 

State driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) will be adding your medical self-certification status and the information on your medical examiner's certificate to your Commercial driver's license system (CDLIS) record.

When did this change occur? 

This change became effective on January 30, 2012, with full compliance due by January 30, 2014.

What is not changing? 

The federal standards for driver physical qualification requirements are not changing.

What are CDL holders required to do?

You must determine whether you operate in interstate or intrastate commerce, and are excepted or non-excepted from either the Federal or State requirements. You must certify to your SDLA that you fall into one of the four operation categories listed below:

  • Interstate non-excepted: You are an Interstate non-excepted driver and must meet the Federal DOT medical card requirements (e.g. – you are "not excepted").
  • Interstate excepted: You are an Interstate excepted driver and do not have to meet the Federal DOT medical card requirements.
  • Intrastate non-excepted: You are an Intrastate non-excepted driver and are required to meet the medical requirements for your State.
  • Intrastate excepted: You are an Intrastate excepted driver and do not have to meet the medical requirements for your State.

For the definition of interstate and intrastate please see the FAQ section.

If you are subject to the USDOT medical examiner certification requirement, provide a copy of each new USDOT medical examiner certificate to your SDLA prior to the expiration of your current medical examiner certificate. The medical examiner certificate is often referred to as your "medical card."

Physical Impairments

Drivers with physical impairments, which affect their ability to safely operate CMVs, must obtain a "variance" from their State in order to be approved to drive commercially. The variance document must be carried with the commercial driver whenever they are operating a commercial motor vehicle.  A Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) is a special type of "variance" required for drivers with impaired or missing limbs (e.g., a hand or finger, an arm, foot, or leg). Drivers with missing limbs, if eligible, must obtain an SPE certificate. The commercial driver must always carry the SPE certificate at all times.

The document contains the requirements for any special equipment that the driver must be wearing or the commercial vehicle must possess in order to be operated by that driver. Click on the link below for more information.

Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014