News
Federal Update
Toss your medical card?

By Jami Jones, managing editor

While truckers may be happy that they are now no longer required to carry their medical cards with them on the road, it might be a good idea to hang onto them anyway.

In December 2008, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a final rule that requires drivers to present proof of medical certification to their state driver’s licensing agency each time they get their medical card renewed. The states are required to enter the certification into the Commercial Drivers License Information System – dubbed CDLIS – for law enforcement to access on the roadside.

That reg was supposed to go into effect in 2011. But some states weren’t ready to enter the certification information into CDLIS. So, FMCSA delayed the requirement that states enter the information until Jan. 30, 2015, even though truckers still had to present their cards to the DMV.

Now that the state reporting requirement has kicked in, truckers are only required to retain their medical card for 15 days to give the states time to enter the certification into the mega database. But, given the patchwork of ways states handle accepting certification and what proof they provide, OOIDA recommends hanging onto the medical card anyway.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance issued an inspection bulletin in late January advising law enforcement of the change to the regulation and what to do in various situations and when to issue citations.

One scenario in particular could prove problematic for compliant truckers who have presented their proof of medical certification to their home state licensing agency, but somehow the state drops the ball and doesn’t get it entered into CDLIS.

In the case that the CDL is valid, but information related to the current medical certification doesn’t show up, CVSA advises law enforcement not to issue a violation if the driver has a card and it’s within the 15 days after the card was issued. But the driver will be referred back to his or her home state licensing agency, and law enforcement is to record and document it in the inspection report.

CVSA does not advise law enforcement on what to do if the card is more than 15 days old.

Because of that situation, OOIDA advises drivers who had trouble or do not have proof that they submitted the certification to their state drivers licensing agency to check with the DMV and verify that all of the information has been entered.

The following list is the rest of the scenarios CVSA advised roadside enforcement on what to do:

CDL is valid, medical indicator shows medical information on file. No violation.

CDL is valid, medical indicator shows no medical information on file, no medical certificate in driver’s possession. Cite §391.41(a)(1)

CDL is valid, medical indicator shows no medical information on file, no medical certificate in driver’s possession. Cite §391.41(a)(1)

CDL disqualified, no medical certificate in driver’s possession. Driver OOS, cite §391.15 if driver is operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) requiring a CDL. Cite §391.41(a)(1) if driver is operating a non-CDL vehicle.

CDL disqualified and downgraded, no medical certificate in driver’s possession. Driver OOS, cite §383.23(a)(2) and §391.15 if driver is operating a CMV requiring a CDL. Cite §391.41(a)(1) if driver is operating a non-CDL vehicle.

CDL downgraded, no medical certificate in driver’s possession. Driver OOS, cite §383.23(a)(2) if driver is operating a CMV requiring a CDL. Cite §391.41(a)(1)if driver is operating a non-CDL vehicle.

CDL disqualified, medical certificate in driver’s possession. Driver OOS, cite §391.15 if driver is operating a CMV requiring a CDL. No violation if driver is operating a non-CDL vehicle.

CDL disqualified and downgraded, medical certificate in driver’s possession. Driver OOS, cite §383.23(a)(2) and §391.15 if driver is operating a CMV requiring a CDL. No violation if driver is operating a non-CDL vehicle.

CDL downgraded, medical certificate in driver’s possession. Driver OOS, cite §383.23(a)(2) if driver is operating a CMV requiring a CDL. No violation if driver is operating a non-CDL vehicle. LL