Safety & Compliance

CDL/Med Card Merger: The Deadline is Near

Tips to make sure your drivers are prepared for the deadline

November 2013, - Feature

by Jill Schultz, J.J. Keller

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An important deadline is just around the corner for CDL drivers and their motor carriers. As of Jan. 30, 2014, all CDL holders must have supplied information about the type of driving they do (self-certify) and the status of their medical certificate/card to their state driver’s licensing agency.

Neglecting to complete these tasks before the Jan. 30 deadline will mean serious consequences for CDL holders and the companies they drive for.

Non-compliance means the driver will lose CDL privileges. The driver’s license will be downgraded to a non-CDL class, so he or she can’t operate vehicles that require a CDL until full CDL privileges have been reestablished. In many cases, this process will be very time-consuming and costly for the driver.

The motor carrier is responsible for making sure all drivers are fully qualified to operate the vehicles they are assigned to drive. The carrier will be unable to dispatch a driver on its roster whose license is downgraded. This can cause a loss in productivity and revenue.

Take some simple steps now to keep this from happening.

Self-certification and the med card

The first piece of information a driver must provide to the state licensing agency is a self-certification of the type of commercial driving he or she performs. All CDL holders must complete this self-certification.

The self-certification document must be obtained from the agency that issued the driver’s license.

Many states allow the driver to download a self-certification form from the state licensing agency’s website or provide this information via an online portal. Some states require the driver to complete a specific form that is mailed to the driver’s home address.

No matter the format, when completing the form, drivers must certify that they operate or expect to operate under one of the following four categories:

1. Non-excepted interstate: Applies to drivers who operate in interstate commerce and are subject to the qualification requirements in Part 391 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

2. Excepted interstate: Applies to drivers who operate in interstate commerce, but are exclusively involved in “excepted” operations under Sections 390.3(f), 391.2, 391.68, or 398.3 of the FMCSRs.

3. Non-excepted intrastate — A driver who operates only in intrastate commerce and is subject to state qualification requirements.

4. Excepted intrastate — A driver who operates only in intrastate commerce and is exclusively involved in operations that are excepted from the state’s qualification requirements.

In addition to providing self-certification, all non-excepted interstate drivers must provide a current, valid copy of their medical certificate/card.

A few states are also requiring non-excepted intrastate drivers to provide a valid copy of their medical certificate/card. It is expected that more states will require intrastate drivers to turn in this document in the future.


Once the state receives a driver’s self-certification and medical card information, it will be placed on the driver’s driving record.

That means that as of Jan. 30, 2014, drivers will no longer be required to carry their medical card, and motor carriers will not be required to maintain a copy in the driver’s qualification file.

So how will a carrier verify that a driver is physically qualified? By obtaining a copy of the driver’s driving record and including it in the driver’s qualification file.

By Jan. 30, 2014, and then each time a medical certificate/card is renewed and turned in to the driver licensing agency, the motor carrier will need to obtain a new driving record that reflects this current information and place it in the driver’s qualification file. This requirement is in addition to the annual review of each driver’s driving record that must be performed by the motor carrier.

The motor carrier will need to take timing into account when obtaining the new MVR that reflects the driver’s current medical status. Once a driver turns in his/her medical certificate/card to the state licensing agency, the state has 10 days to enter this information into the driver’s driving record. During this time, the motor carrier must keep a copy of the driver’s medical certificate/card in the driver’s qualification file. Regulations allow a motor carrier to maintain this copy of the certificate/card as proof of medical qualification for a maximum of 15 days from the date it was issued.

Also, when it comes to timing, drivers will need to plan in advance. If the expiration date of the driver’s medical certificate/card passes, and the driver’s MVR is not up to date, the state will begin the process of downgrading the driver’s CDL to a non-CDL class.

The bottom line

Organization and information are key when it comes to meeting these requirements. Drivers need to be aware of these requirements and follow the process implemented by their state’s licensing agency.

Motor carriers need to be informed of the processes in each state where they have a driver licensed. Motor carriers must also have policies and procedures in place to ensure that all drivers comply with the requirements in a timely manner.

Compliance is a responsibility that is shared by both motor carriers and drivers.

Jill Schultz is editor - transportation safety at J.J. Keller & Associates, specializing in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and intrastate safety regulations, including driver qualification, hours of service, and alcohol and controlled substance regulations. [email protected]


  1. 1. BarbRRB [ November 12, 2013 @ 06:21AM ]

    I hope all drivers keep records this has been done. I do NOT trust State of Federal agencies to keep accurate records. History has proven their record. We the driver will pay the price for their mistakes.
    I personally waited for my home state to send out my paperwork to self-certify. None was sent. Called to get fax # , was told I did not receive paperwork from motor vehicle and did not need to comply until paperwork was received.,Ow but you should have by now. It is always our duty to clean up the mess, even if state and feds neglected to do their jobs properly. We all know there is NO consequences at their level.

  2. 2. Dfddan [ November 12, 2013 @ 07:02AM ]

    So now I'll have to find the time to go to the DMV an extra time because my CDL is for 3 years and my med card is for no more than 2...GREAT! I can't wait! Next it'll be renew your CDL at same time as med card...for the same cost as before!

  3. 3. DH [ November 12, 2013 @ 03:38PM ]

    Med cards are checked every time we're inspected, CDL renewals always want to see the current med card. Federal paper reduction act???
    More nonsense to keep govt jobs. could have phased in to coincide with license renewal at least.

  4. 4. SoNotMe [ November 12, 2013 @ 11:26PM ]

    They can't make the med card renewal coincide with CDL renewal. Those drivers with medical/health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, etc., can only get one-year cards (or in some cases, six month cards). Not all DOT med cards are for two years. Regardless, this is just one more way to micro-manage and micro-regulate drivers, and will - in time - lead to additional fees and costs for all drivers.

  5. 5. Safety B [ November 13, 2013 @ 06:17AM ]

    As a safety manager, I see this is a huge headache for the company as well. This puts the medical card submission back on the company. Not only do we already keep up with the expiration dates and pay for the physicals, but now we have to wait 10 days after each driver has updated thier medical card, pay for yet another MVR, and if it is not recorded correctly, then what? Do the companies get back the cost of the MVR if the information was not submitted properly? I don't think so.

  6. 6. Ken Marinelli [ November 13, 2013 @ 06:34AM ]

    Things were fine the way they were. I have never been asked to show my medical card. This is just more evidence of a government that is out of control. And what kind of idiots are making the rules these days?

  7. 7. Z [ November 19, 2013 @ 05:59AM ]

    W o w

  8. 8. Ronda [ November 20, 2013 @ 12:02PM ]

    Dfddan if you know how to use a computer & internet you can your medical card into your computer & email it as an attachment to [email protected] or you may fax it to 515-239-1837 for the St. of IA. If you work for a trucking co most keep track of when your license & medical cards are do & let you know & even some companys will email it for you if you ask.

  9. 9. Haller [ December 08, 2013 @ 05:27AM ]

    Again, people who know very little about the trucking industry are changing the rules, and making new laws.. Bring back The Teamsters and Jimmy Hoffa.

  10. 10. Candy [ December 18, 2013 @ 08:23AM ]

    The paperwork only takes 2 seconds for the drivers to sign and you can send them in to the CDL office all in one mailing. They only have to sign this form once in their lifetime and you can include the paperwork in your hiring practices. Yes it is an extra paper to sign. But come on guys, be positive. I think it is good for the industry for all of us to comply together. No more medical cards to carry. No more being placed OOS for NOT having your medical card on your person. How great is that! It only takes a minute to do. Stop fussing at the Feds and do your job! It is not that complicated I promise!

  11. 11. Veit Johnson [ December 18, 2013 @ 05:13PM ]

    When I received my medical card the first thing I did was to trot down to the DMV and submit my medical form to them. At that time they entered the information in the computer and stamped my form. They also stamped the copy of the form that I had which I carried with me for well over a year until someone took my file out of my truck. This was in California. I have not been able to find out from the DMV if I need to self-certify. I talked to a couple of technicians and they were not aware of the self certification and or the form I need to fill out. A supervisor was not available.

  12. 12. Rhonda [ December 23, 2013 @ 10:32AM ]

    I had all 85 of my drivers sign the self-cert's in January when I found out about this. As their medical was renewed I then sent in the new card with the self certs they had signed and kept a copy in each driver file. Done! In the city I live in I have set up a direct contact at the Dept of Public Safety and I will send in the med card renewals as they come to me for processing. The driver does not have to take time off to go sit at DMV and I have confirmation iit has been completed. Set up a system and it will not be that hard. Stop the whining it doesn't make a difference.

  13. 13. Deanna Miller [ January 08, 2014 @ 01:13PM ]

    Per FMCSA, Driver's will still be required to submit a copy of their Medical Card to their employer. It is still a requirement to be maintained in DQ file.

  14. 14. Terry [ January 21, 2014 @ 09:06AM ]

    I also read the regulation to mean that a driving record had to be done each time a driver renewed his med card. I called the Federal DOT help line, and the person there thought I was silly to think that this was the case. For example, I asked her, "If I had just pulled a driver's record for the yearly requirement, and this driver renewed his physical a week later, did I need to pull another driving record. She said no.

  15. 15. Dave [ January 27, 2014 @ 09:53AM ]

    What if I want to keep my CDL up but am not employed as a driver? I worked hard to earn that class A status! I'm not sure what to do here... And time is ticking down

  16. 16. Colleen [ January 28, 2014 @ 06:11PM ]

    Dave- I am in your situation too. I called DOT today and they told me I am self-certified because I renewed my driver's license in May of 2013. I can re-certify as many times as I want if I start driving again. Their point is you have to self-certify regardless. You don't have to have a medical card but you must self-certify or you will lose your CDL at the end of this month.

  17. 17. VK [ February 21, 2014 @ 02:56PM ]

    I started this process back in Aug. It has been sent back for 1 correction. This has been done. The form is not very clear. Was sent back to me end of Jan. saying wrong date. Can not get any clear answer on whether or not the fact that it was sent in in Aug. keeps me covered. Also, I have had my CDL since 1988. Have heard that grandfathers me. Can not find info on that either. Does anyone know where to get this information or how it will affect my license?

  18. 18. Oscar F Broome Jr [ February 28, 2014 @ 06:14AM ]

    Good news

  19. 19. John [ March 03, 2014 @ 09:20AM ]

    I work with numerous companies on the fleet safety programs and I am finding an average of 1 out of 10 MVR checks show that the driver did not place his medical card on file. As a result the CLD portion of his license has been canceled. What a huge risk to the company to have an unlicensed person driving their vehicle.

  20. 20. Frank Thomas Smith [ March 13, 2014 @ 03:42PM ]

    thought I would take a minute and reflect I turn in my medical card today updated: upgraded and everything it has been asked for so hopefully I have no more issues just one more way government is micromanaging are trucking industry

  21. 21. Paul S [ March 30, 2014 @ 06:22AM ]

    I did all this last year. Atleast I thought the state had their stuff straight. I'm ready to renew my medical card again. But just found out the state didn't do their job last year with the medical card. They just informed me I have a regular license. I called to verify. I've actually been driving on a regular license all year. The liability rest on them. I was ejected.from the truck as soon as I found out. I'm done with this bureaucracy. I'm headed home. Changing careers less complicated

  22. 22. keith prince [ April 16, 2014 @ 07:25AM ]

    Yes,I have my cdl s and i have not driven a tractor trailer in some years,i been in a tow truck for ten years,but my question is,is there a penalty for beening late?,im trying to get my medical card in order to get my cdls renewed,so by me having to wait have my cdls been down graded are do i pay a penalty to get them renewed.

  23. 23. linda t [ June 13, 2014 @ 11:06AM ]

    I am retired and on disability but i still have my cdl licence which i dont operate a commercial vechicle just drive a car for everyday travel my medical card expired my mo. License expire in 2015 can i keep them without a medical card ..or will they make me dow0n grade to a regular licence since i dont drive a big truck semi anymore?

  24. 24. Danny [ August 06, 2014 @ 02:02PM ]

    Please help! I had to renew my cdl's and did so in 9/28/2012. I cant remember if I did the self certification or not at that time and date? Since it was done on 9/28/2012, would I have had to do that certification since it was getting close to the time of doing it? I have called and I still have my cdl's with class am and nt endorsements. Should I go ahead and do another certification again just to make sure? Thank you very much for your help on this matter!

  25. 25. steve [ May 10, 2015 @ 05:06PM ]

    I have had a cdl for over twenty that time have always had a cdl and medical card on person. Dol has past there duty to the US postal service to track down there drivers. In my case they never did. Went through a safety check and found out I lost my cdl little over a year ago. I can only imagine what would of happened if I was in an accident, to me and my company. DOL could of left it in there own hand and requested a medical card and cert before giving you your license. Instead I've lost 2/3 of my income and two months pay and have two retest and skill test (what dose that have to do with recertifing) stupid people that don't have any place making rules about something they don't know

  26. 26. Jesse [ July 13, 2015 @ 05:15PM ]

    I stopped driving trucks in June 2011, my CDL expired in May 2013. So in May I renewed and my CDL expires in May 2018 now. My question is I never knew I had to keep a medical card on file to keep my CDL, wtf?

    It's 2015 and things in my life changed, and now I want to get back on the road. I filled out an application with Schneider and they told me everything was good to go,and that I was already pre-hired pretty much.

    I also filled out an application with K&B and the guy is telling me he can't find my CDL on file?

    I am worried and nervous if my CDL is still a CDL. When I renewed my CDL in 2013, I was never told anything about a medical card renewal as well, and I never did one.

    I have been trying to get in contact with Texas DPS all day today to make sure my CDL is still even good.

    How the fkkk are they gonna just cancel peoples CDL just like that? I really hope my CDL has not been downgraded to a regular CDL, I am just about homeless, and need a job really bad.

    This business is getting dirty.

  27. 27. Victor Torres [ September 15, 2015 @ 04:24PM ]

    I have a cdl license but just got a Lester with a new drivers license but is a class C I call dmv and was told I was downgraded is there anyway to fight this I was never notify or given a deadline for any paper work and I pay a lot of money to just lose it overnight please help me

  28. 28. cj [ October 10, 2015 @ 10:12AM ]

    My med card expires tomorrow! On sunday im currently not working as a driver will my cdls get downgraded if im not able to go get new physical till later in thw week?

  29. 29. John Thomas Laughter [ February 09, 2016 @ 03:56PM ]

    I don't work for anybody right now. My medical card expires tomorrow at midnight. It is snowing like crazy here in Murphy, N.C. What happens if I can't get out tomorrow to renew it? Do I lose my CDL? Doc.

  30. 30. unclefungus [ May 01, 2016 @ 07:40AM ]

    I sent my medical card to the DPS months before the deadline. I had a card from the post office showing somebody accepted the mail. My employer also sent the information requested. On April 15th at the Utah port of entry I was told my CDL had been downgraded to a class c because they did not receive my medical card information. An hour later i was back on the road after verifying my medical card via fax. With instructions to vist a Texas DPS office as soon as I was back in state. Which I did. I went to a DPS office in Hebbronvile Tx. Cindy Worley entered my information into the compute. It's a week later and a Sunday. I have been placed out of service because I don't carry a valid CDL.I have also been fined $69 for not having a valid CDL. So here I sit in Lamar Colorado because someboy don't enter my information in a timely manner. I blame the meddling politicians and incompetent clerical staff for this BS. This stupid law was not necessary. As if my job is not stressful enough. There was nothing wrong with carrying the ID card and long form. Thank you Texas government for your pathetic rules.

  31. 31. Christopher Brown [ August 26, 2016 @ 01:47AM ]

    Drug Testing Los Angeles is a company that simply offers the best and most comprehensive drug testing services in Los Angeles County, from DOT drug testing , to DNA, or even hair testing. <a href="">Drug Test L.A.</a>

  32. 32. Sonny Starnes [ September 05, 2016 @ 07:09AM ]

    I think that once again drivers have been s''t on by the powers that be. Now you can take away our cdl if we don't PAY for a medical exam. This only adds to the drivers expense, it does nothing for safety. The driver can not take a break from driving commercially without losing his expensive license and having to do it all over again if he/she wants to resume driving. Thanks for sticking it to the drivers again. The fines are higher like everything else. You think driving schools are the answer, all they do is turn out 'steering wheel holders'. I am a ticked off driver with over 3 miles miles accident free miles. I'm dropping out of this joke. I've had enough of idiotic rules that have accomplished nothing more than an increase in accidents by these 90 day wonders from useless schools.

  33. 33. bendy [ November 15, 2016 @ 04:47PM ]

    I was downgraded because I'm on insulin, will I have to take new test for cdl to get it back after I'm finished with insulin?

  34. 34. David [ December 15, 2016 @ 07:54AM ]

    I did not get my physical by my deadlind and it was down graded to a class c. Can you pass the physical while on a blood thinner?

  35. 35. jim bartlett [ April 10, 2017 @ 09:50AM ]

    if a driver is not driving at the time his certification exspires he or she should not be required to do the recertification rite then it is very unfiar and railroading of the driver this political plot to put the driver out of workand is a plot to bleed the driver of funds that should

  36. 36. Mary Hernandez [ July 20, 2017 @ 08:43AM ]

    So is this how our politicions manipulate us into thinking their doing their jobs, . By in reality, Is basically working a system that will , reward him/her personal gains, as well as political. Just for enacting more insignificant policies and new laws. That only benefits a few individuals and or corporations. Because though it " is for the safety of all individuals on that road". Safety issue, how? Its shuffling paperwork around. . I get the part we, drivers need to have all lic, certs, ect. up to current status. But why cant they come up with a more brilliant idea. That limits what expenses are demanded upon us. What is disturbing here is , having full knowledge and with total disregard . That it will create such devistating financial hardships on CDL drivers and their families. And not care, if we can feed , provide housing and basic necessarities for our families. Who's the person on our side? Righting this wrong.!!! Why is this an issue of, them against drivers. Other then working together. To come up with a more appropriate solution. Cause at this point, Your just Bullying us and with the threat of taking our livelihoods away.


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