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CDL changes start Jan. 30

Jill Dunn | November 14, 2011

Truckers must keep paper copies of their medical examiner’s certificate with them while driving for another two years, according to a final rule to be published Nov. 15.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s upcoming final rule will extend that mandate for interstate CDL holders until Jan. 30, 2014. It also will continue requiring carriers keep paper copies of their drivers’ certificates until then.

This month’s final rule is a follow-up to the agency’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, issued last June, which proposed amending a 2008 final rule.

That 2008 final rule required CDL holders subject to federal physical qualification provide an original or copy of their medical examiner’s certificate to their state driver’s licensing agency. State agencies must post the medical certification information in the Commercial Driver’s License Information System, the federal electronic database.

After the 2008 final rule, several states told the FMCSA their offices lacked the capacity to comply by the rule’s Jan. 30, 2012, deadline. The agency extended the paper copy requirement for interstate CDL holders and carriers two years to provide sufficient overlap for state agencies.

However, the FMCSA did not extend the deadline for state agencies. Beginning Jan. 30, drivers applying for or renewing CDLs under the non-excepted interstate category will have to self-certify and provide the certificate or a copy to the state licensing agency. All drivers affected by the rule will have to comply by Jan. 30, 2014.

More information on the final rule, FMCSA-1997–2210, is available here.

  • John solliday

    If I’m understanding this right I believe Indiana and Nevada both are doin this .
    You have to send in a copy of the long form and your pocket card when you red we your physical or they pull our liscences till then ,
    Am I understanding this to be the same or is it different?
    Thank u for the clarification .

  • Todd Dills

    John, Yes, many states have already started the ball rolling on shifting to the eventuality of drivers’ not having to carry the medical cards anymore, taking that information and tying it directly to the CDL — the reason they’ve delayed the Jan 30, 2012, deadline for states doing all of this is that many states are behind the ball on it.

    North Carolina is another that has begun the process — owner-operator Henry Albert got his letter quite recently, and posted it to his blog here:

    The changes mentioned in the story mean that you’ll have to continue to carry the pocket card through 2014, ultimately.

  • Don

    Are the mexican carriers under the same rules as canadan truckers Where they can not pick up and deliver in the U S the load must return to mexico

  • tdills

    They are, Don. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.