It is CRITICAL that all commercial drivers know and plan for the changes in the law governing medical qualification of drivers which will become effective January 30, 2014.
As you are already aware, CDL drivers must present their new medical certificates when renewing their drivers’ licenses, and must complete a written statement of what driving services they perform. When the program is fully-implemented in January, these will be the changes:
- The driver is required by law to file his medical certificate with the state of his license. ( In some states this must be done in person.) This must be done 15 days before expiration of the old physical, or the driver’s license will be either suspended or cancelled ( depending on state) .
- This means that it is no longer possible to take a new physical on the final day that the prior physical is effective, for the result will be that the driver is disqualified, and will not be able to drive commercially for two weeks or longer… until the new physical has been approved and recorded by the state.
- Under the new system, ONLY those physicians on the national registry of approved physicians will be authorized to perform USDOT physicals. The Safety Department has a link to the web-based list of approved physicians, and can direct you to an approved physician if you phone and request it.
- The new regulations will eliminate the need to carry a medical certificate – as the data you provide to the state which issued your CDL will appear on the CDL itself. There will, of course, be a transition period during which those who carry an older, still valid physical will be governed by the former rules, and they will have to carry the medical certificate – as before.
The critical thing you must remember is that the days of renewing your physical on expiration date or the day before are gone. Transcribing medical data to your CDL will require 15 days – and if the old physical expires in this period, your CDL will be either cancelled or suspended, making you disqualified from commercial driving.