Another medical certification cautionary tale: Eric Toms’ cancelled CDL privileges

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Maryland-based longtime dump-truck owner Eric Toms wrote in a couple weeks back with a case of a CDL cancellation he believes came as the result of a failure to self-certify his medical certification’s status within just a week of his prior medical card’s expiration. Regular readers will recall January 2014 deadlines for drivers to present their medical certification status to their licensing states’ DMV in order that such status could be tied to the status of their CDL. The goals of that linkage were several — from eliminating the need for drivers to carry paper medical cards to helping tamp down reported use of fraudulent cards.

Two of Toms’ dump trucks — he’s a “third-generation dump truck owner in Maryland,” he says.Two of Toms’ dump trucks — he’s a “third-generation dump truck owner in Maryland,” he says.

Toms went in to Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration (its DMV, essentially) to renew his CDL late this past year after working this year primarily as a mechanic / builder and was told he’d need to retake all written and skills tests just like a new CDL applicant. “I’ve had my CDL since 1996,” he says. “And I have a clean driving record. It’s just not right.”

He appears to have missed mail the Maryland DMV claims, he says, to have sent — up to three separate mailings — related to his soon-to-expire medical certification in advance of his CDL’s cancellation early this past year.

In the time leading into the expiration of his medical certification in January last year he was in Florida with his father, who was unwell and undergoing surgery. He knew his medical certification was close to expiring, but he wasn’t exactly sure of the date, given he carried the card typically in his dump, back in Maryland. Ultimately, he renewed his med cert while in Florida and sent it in to Maryland but was one week late, he says.

The damage had apparently already been done, though he didn’t know it at the time. “My medical card was lapsed for just one week – and they cancelled my CDL immediately,” Toms says. “I think it’s way out of hand for them to do something and not even notify me.”

He told them so. “‘You ought to be able to send out a certified letter so that you know we received it,’ I said. They said, ‘we can’t afford that'” given the large number of CDL holders. “But they ought to be able to afford that, given how much we have to pay just to keep our license active.”

Maryland DMV notes, as do other states, on its website that failure to self-certify medical certification status upon medical card renewal or upon Maryland DMV request could result in “your entire commercial and non commercial driving privilege/license” being cancelled.

While Toms notes a friend in 2014 accidentally let his medical card lapse for a month and a half without issue, Toms’ 2015 cancellation could well illustrate new enforcement speed in his state, at least, on med cert expirations. Moral of the story? Don’t miss your med cert deadline, says Toms, simply, though he reiterates his belief it’s “just not right” that he never heard word one from the MVA heading into renewal.

And as with the medical certification cautionary tale at this link, don’t let it get too close to the deadline in visiting the doc — start the process plenty early. The heat appears only to be getting hotter on CDL holder medical qualifications.

What’s been your most recent experience with medical certification?

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