By Matt Wrobel, Foley Services, Inc.
Don’t give up your Medical Certificate just yet. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has delayed implementation for another year.
The new medical certificate rules have been in the works for literally years. Part of the rule change went into effect in 2010, while other parts have been kicked and punted down the field to the early part of 2014. But, once again, FMCSA has delayed no longer requiring that drivers carry their medical certificate until January 30, 2015.
Under the rules, drivers were supposed to report their operating status and provide a valid medical certificate to their state CDL-issuing body (DMV, RMV, etc) by January 30, 2014. Once that was complete, it was supposed to eliminate the need for a driver to carry a paper copy
of their certificate as that information would be available to roadside officials electronically.
According to FMCSA, the delay was caused by a “lack of readiness” of some states. We strongly recommend keeping your medical certificate with you unless notified otherwise by your state DMV.
Rules Going Into Effect
The rules actually went into effect several years ago. Drivers who have registered since January 30, 2012 have already been subject to them. Essentially, the DOT is merging the CDL with the medical certificate. If you have not already, you must visit your state CDL issuing body as soon as possible. The deadline to supply them with your information was January 30, 2014.
To register, you will need to have:
- A valid medical examiner’s certificate
- Your CDL
- Your operating status (do you drive interstate or intrastate)
Note that if your medical certificate has expired you will need to undergo a DOT physical. We advise that if you have not already complied with these rules, you do so as soon as possible. Failure to comply with the rules could lead to losing your CDL (Fines and late fees are a more likely outcome).
While the rules sound sensible enough — less paperwork to carry — they have caused a surprising amount of trouble for the states that have to implement them. Until very recently, there was very little standardization between the different CDL-issuing agencies. Several of the agencies had to dramatically increase their usage of computers to comply with the rulemaking.
Other Medical Examiner Rules
Note that these rules are separate from the rules going into place later this year that require drivers to only undergo DOT Physicals from a doctor who has passed a DOT exam and who is registered on the DOT’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
That rulemaking has also been plagued with problems, as far fewer doctors than the FMCSA predicted have signed up. There have been widespread calls for those rules to be delayed or abandoned as impractical.
Another set of rules going into place would create an online system allowing doctors to upload information to FMCSA instantly. Once that system goes into place, doctors would be required to supply the information within the same day as the examination. This is to prevent drivers “shopping around” for the results they want.
If and when these rules go into place, there will have been an almost total rewrite of the medical examiner’s certificate regulations.