Federal Update
Medical certificates now required in commercial driver licensing process

By Jami Jones
senior editor


The days of truckers “telling” state licensing agencies that their medical certifications are current are just about over because of a new regulation issued late this past year.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a final rule that changes the way states must verify the medical certification for truckers who are either renewing or applying for a CDL. Phased-in compliance deadlines for states, motor carriers and truckers start kicking in on Jan. 30, 2012.

Once everything is up and running on the state level, truckers will be required to present either the original or a copy of the current medical examiner’s certificate. The state agency must then date stamp the certification card and return it to the trucker.

The date-stamped card will be sufficient to prove medical certification for 15 days. Within 10 days of stamping the card, the state licensing agency must enter the information into the Commercial Drivers License Information System, according to the new requirement.

States will be required to keep a copy of the stamped card for three years from the date the CDL is issued.

Once the information is entered in the CDLIS, truckers won’t be required to present the valid medical card for inspections or employment.

Instead, inspectors will have access to the electronic information. Motor carriers won’t even be able to use the medical card anymore to prove a driver’s fitness.

Starting Jan. 30, the motor carriers must keep a copy of the current CDLIS motor vehicle record documenting medical certification status in the driver’s qualification file before allowing the driver behind the wheel.

Truckers will have to stay on top of their medical certification because of the new requirement.

If the certification expires before the CDL, states will be required to update the driver’s CDLIS file to reflect the driver as “not certified.” The driver’s CDL will be downgraded after 60 days of the expiration of the medical certification. LL