What is CDL Medical Certification

October 18, 2019

While many wannabe truckers feel that their only concern after getting their CDL license is making sure they have an excellent CDL traffic ticket attorney, they are wrong. A CDL license is a privilege and requires upkeep. In order to obtain and maintain a CDL license, some applicants and current drivers are required to take a physical exam every couple of years. Once they pass their physical exam, they receive a CDL medical card or endorsement known as the Medical Examiner’s Certificate. Without this endorsement, these truck drivers could lose their jobs. Therefore, it is vital to understand this medical certification.

Do You Need Certification?

While it might seem secondary to a speeding ticket lawyer, receiving medical certification is paramount to a successful career. However, not every driver is required to receive certification. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is an agency within the Department of transportation, medical certification is a requirement of all commercial drivers who operate in interstate commerce. Therefore, if you drive a regional or multi-state route, you are likely required to have and maintain a ME certificate. However, if you only drive locally, then you might be able to forego this certification. You would be best served by talking to your employer, or your state licensing body.

Where Do You Get Examined?

While medical cards for CDL might be a requirement, you cannot receive the qualifying examination by just any doctor. As part of the FMCSA requirements, the physician must belong to the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. While you might feel that this limits the hospitals and locations for your examination, there are actually a variety of medical professionals, located both in urban and rural areas, who can perform your exam. To make the process easier, the FMCSA also provides a searchable database on its website. However, if you want to try your luck, many urgent care centers employ certified MEs.

What Occurs During the Examination?

The exam consists of two parts: (1) a five-page report and (2) a physical. The report is filled out by both you and the examiner. You will be asked about any previous surgeries, medications and medical history. If the examiner has any further questions, they will ask probing questions. Then, they will perform a physical exam, checking your vital signs and testing your urine, hearing and vision. Once you have completed these two portions of the exam, the ME will determine if you meet acceptable standards.

How Do You Get Your Certification?

If you do meet the acceptable standards of the exam, then the ME will fill out a certificate that is good for 24 months. However, they can require you to come in sooner by providing an earlier expiration. If you do not meet the standards, according to a particular examiner, then the FMCSA allows for a second opinion. Once you have your certificate, you need to make a copy of the certificate and the results to your State Driver Licensing Agency. Failure to send in these documents can result in the loss of your CDL license.

A med card for CDL drivers is a requirement, especially for interstate commerce drivers. This requirement ensures that truckers are healthy and capable of performing the regular duties of the job. Without this certificate, a driver risks their career. However, beyond medical certifications, drivers also need to be diligent about traffic violations, which is why it doesn’t hurt to have a traffic attorney on standby. Similar to failed physicals, too many traffic violations can sideline an otherwise successful trucking career. Therefore, when scheduling your next physical, also consider scheduling a consultation with a local CDL attorney to discuss road safety and precautions.