Regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers are changing in regard to medical cards. The rules remain the same as to which drivers need a federal medical certificate (Fed Med card) while operating a commercial vehicle, but drivers will now have to provide an up-to-date copy of this card to the DMV when they obtain it.

As part of this process, all CDL holders will have to self-certify the type of classification in which they operate as well (which will determine their requirements for filing their Fed Med card with the state) by 2014, and some may have to do so earlier than that.

Currently, all trucking companies are responsible for tracking the expiration of medical cards for their drivers. If a Fed Med card expires, the company usually reminds the driver to get a medical exam and get a new card.

By January 2014, the states will be required to take this over and centralize tracking of which drivers are maintaining a valid Fed Med card. If the state's DMV doesn't have a card on file for a driver, they'll suspend their license. Most states are starting this process now to ensure compliance by 2014, beginning with those who are receiving Fed Med cards and CDLs for the first time or renewing them.

When drivers will have to comply with the new requirements

In all states, drivers who are required to file a Fed Med card will have to comply by January 30, 2014. In most states you are now required to show your Fed Med card when renewing a CDL license for interstate commerce. If you renew your CDL but don't show your medical card, you may be restricted to intrastate only as a result.

A number of our clients have reported that their drivers have visited the DMV, renewed their license without showing the Fed Med card (since they haven't had to in the past), and have later realized the license they got was restricted to intrastate commerce.

From now, on any time drivers get a new medical card (good for two years) they will need to notify the DMV when it expires. For specifics on requirements in your state, verify with the DMV.

A new step in the process: reporting vehicle classifications

By January 30, 2014, all CDL holders will have to self-certify their type of vehicle operation, which will determine if they need to submit a Fed Med Card to the DMV or not.

The new regulations do not change who is required to maintain a Fed Med card, but they do require drivers to report their exemption if they have one. CDL holders who do not file a Fed Med card with the DMV or report an exemption will be assumed to be non-compliant, and their licenses will be suspended January 30, 2014.

Don Jerrell is associate VP at HNI, an insurance, benefits and consulting firm. This is reprinted with permission from the HNI blog.