To Carry or Not to Carry?

We are nearing 8 months since the FMCSA changed regulations on driver medical card possession requirements — and there still seems to be a great deal of confusion among both drivers and trucking companies. The state reporting requirement kicked in on January 30, 2015 — 4 years after the regulation was supposed to go into effect in 2011.

Why such a delay? The states are required to enter the driver’s medical certification card record into the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS), merging this document digitally with the driver’s state-issued CDL so that law enforcement can access the information on the roadside, real-time.

Come 2011, there was still a significant number of states that were not ready or equipped to handle entering the certification information into CDLIS. The FMCSA delayed the requirement until earlier this year, to protect commercial drivers from being cited for violations because some states were not yet fully compliant with the new system.

Now that the regulation has gone into effect, truckers are only required to retain their medical card for 15 days, allowing states some time to enter the driver’s DOT medical certification card into the humongous database. FMCSA representative Marissa Padilla explained in an Overdrive article that “the implementation of this regulation will relieve drivers from the burden of carrying a paper document and reduce the potential for fraud.”

FMCSA has worked with state licensing agencies to ensure that their medical information is electronically available to law enforcement officers through the Commercial Driver License Information System. The implementation of this regulation will relieve drivers form the burden of carrying a paper document and reduce the potential for fraud. ” – Marissa Padilla , FMCSA Spokesperson

Even though they got the green light, many drivers and companies are hesitant to be on the road without paper documentation, even after the 15 day grace period. Because of the variety of ways states handle accepting DOT medical certifications and what proof they provide, OOIDA recommends hanging on to your medical card anyway, and we have to agree. For many truckers, not having to carry a paper card at all times sounds like a relief, but there are many ways DOT medical certification cards fail to find their way to the DMV database.

Even prior to this regulation, there have been issues with both doctor and driver legibility on the long forms and medical cards, sometimes resulting in delays and submission rejections. Some states require the DOT medical certification cards to be submitted via fax, sometimes resulting in wrong numbers, and again, legibility issues. There are millions of CDL holders and plenty of possibilities for problems.

CerteDrive’s best practice recommendation is for drivers to have their DOT medical certification card on them at all times, regardless of the 15 day grace period. Fortunately, our web-based application has made carrying your card easier than ever while eliminating the issues of lost or fraudulent cards, illegibility, and reporting issues.


Digital DOT Medical Certification Card Information

Some clarity on the Paper Medical Certificate Requirement regulation for CDL drivers and employers.


There are many benefits to using our web-based application for all of your DOT process needs. This infographic highlights the benefits of our digitally generated DOT medical certification card. The readability and convenience make CerteDrive’s application and digital card a big improvement for truckers and companies alike. For more information on our application and how it can benefits your company, drivers, and clinics, email or call (616) 459-1566.

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