© Copyright ClearPath Benefits

FMCSA Extends Requirement to Carry Copies of Medical Certificates

On Jan. 14, 2014, the FMCSA published a final rule extending the requirements that certain interstate commercial drivers carry paper copies of their medical examiner’s certificates when they operate a commercial motor vehicle and make them available for roadside inspection. These requirements have been extended through Jan. 30, 2015.

The rule has been extended due to delays in implementing the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS)—a single online database merging state-issued commercial driver’s license (CDL) information with medical certification records. Some states are not in full compliance with the new system, which could lead to CDL holders being cited for violations.

The final rule is intended to ensure that the medical qualification of CDL holders is documented adequately until all state driver’s licensing agencies (SDLAs) are able to post all CDL holders’ qualifications to their corresponding CDLIS records.

Affected Drivers and Motor Carriers

The final rule applies to CDL holders who are subject to the federal physical qualification standards.

The final rule also applies to commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders. While CLP holders are not yet required to meet all of the same requirements as CDL holders, the Commercial Learner’s Permit final rule will require CLPs to submit their medical examiner’s certificates to their SDLAs by July 8, 2015. Until then, CLP holders are also required to carry with them a paper copy of this document when operating a commercial vehicle.

The final rule also contains requirements for motor carriers employing CDL and CLP holders. These motor carriers must keep copies of medical examiner’s certificates in each driver qualification file to prove the drivers’ fitness to operate a commercial vehicle through Jan. 30, 2015.


On Dec. 1, 2008, the FMCSA published a final rule requiring each CDL holder to provide to his or her SDLA a current original or a copy of his or her medical examiner’s certificate. The final rule also required SDLAs to post in each CDLIS driver record the driver’s self-certification—a driver’s declaration of his or her qualifications to operate commercial motor vehicles. The 2008 final rule was intended to modernize and streamline recordkeeping obligations for drivers, carriers and state governments.

In 2011, several SDLAs informed the FMCSA that they would not be ready to receive and manually post the required information to the CDLIS records by Jan. 30, 2012.

On Nov. 15, 2011, the FMSCA amended the 2008 final rule to extend the requirement for CDL and CLP holders to carry a paper copy of their medical examiner’s certificate while operating a commercial vehicle until Jan. 30, 2014. The amendment also required employers to continue to maintain a copy of medical examiner’s certificates in their driver qualification files in the event that SDLAs were unable to post the medical certificate data to the drivers’ CDLIS records.

However, the 2011 amendments did not change the compliance dates established in the 2008 final rule for SDLAs. The FMCSA stated that SDLAs were still expected to meet deadlines for collecting, retaining and posting this data on the CDLIS by Jan. 30, 2012, for new CDL applicants and by Jan. 30, 2014, for all CDL holders.

2014 Final Rule

As the Jan. 30, 2014, deadline approached, the FMSCA determined that some SDLAs would still be unable to receive and post all required self-certifications and medical examiner’s certificates to the CDLIS. Because of this issue, some commercial drivers and their employers would not be able to demonstrate or verify whether drivers are qualified to operate commercial motor vehicles relying solely on CDLIS records.

Consequently, the FMCSA has decided to extend for one year, to Jan. 30, 2015, the date for which CDLIS driver records will be the sole required method to prove and verify a driver’s physical qualifications to operate a commercial vehicle.

Quick Facts

  • CDL and CLP holders must carry their medical examiner’s certificates when operating a commercial vehicle until Jan. 30, 2015.
  • The rule was extended to allow time for all states to post driver qualifications to the CDLIS.
  • Motor carriers must also keep copies of these certificates in their drivers’ qualification files through Jan. 30, 2015.
  • Certain interstate commercial drivers must carry paper copies of their medical examiner’s certificates when they operate a commercial motor vehicle through Jan. 30, 2015.