Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) require all commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders to provide the DMV with medical certification. The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 established the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a branch of the US Department of Transportation (DOT). Although state laws vary, interstate transportation of goods and passengers requires a Medical Examiner's Certificate in accordance with CFR, Title 49, Part 391.
Regardless of your status, California requires that you start the process with the DMV. Unlike some states, CA does not accept mailed, faxed, or emailed medical certificates. You should start by reading page 1-10 of the 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf providedby the DMV. For additional help, call the CDL Help Desk, 916-657-5771 or 916-657-5772.
Four Types of Commercial Operations for CDL Holders
As you fill out the papers for your CDL and current CDL holders applying for renewal, you must check one of the boxes which best describes your expected driving status:
- Interstate Nonexcepted– you expect to participate in interstate commerce and must get medical certification.
- Interstate Excepted – CA does not have an exception.
- Intrastate Nonexcepted – you expect to participate in intrastate commerce only,meet the medical standards for CA, and get medical certification verification.
- Intrastate Excepted – Once again, CA does not have an exception.
Interstate commerce/transport means you will be required to drive across state lines, international borders, or accept containers/passengers that originated in or will end their shipment in another state or country.
Intrastate commerce/transport means all driving will be confined to the state in which you are licensed, and none of the above conditions exist.
When you are unsure, or you will operate interstate and intrastate, check the interstate box. The safest choice for future CDL holders in CA is to check interstate, as many shipments will originate or end up in another state or country. This unwritten rule includes emergency vehicle drivers who live and drive close to state or international borders, as you may get called to a fire or to transport a patient in another state.
CDL Holders Are Responsible for Certifications and Endorsements
Whether you are a CDL holder applying for renewal, adding endorsements for hazardous material (HazMat), explosives, or another vehicle class, or a new applicant, you bear the responsibility to ensure you have the proper certification and endorsements before getting behind the wheel.
NOTE:If you are medically or otherwise disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), your CDL driving record will be stamped "Not valid for commercial operation" until you meet all the qualifications.
Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores are affected by noncompliance with medical certification as well as speeding and other unsafe acts while driving. In fact, number eight of the top ten violations include something to do with a driver’s health or medical certification. You may only get assessed one or two points for an expired medical card, but if you are physically ill and driving, you could get assessed ten CSA points. And remember, these CSA points are time-weighted, so if you had a violation within the last six months, the points are tripled. Therefore, you should track your expiration date, start the renewal process early, three to six months is recommended, and take it to the DMV personally.
CDL holders are always on the road and taking care of the little things that apply to your CDL may slip your mind. Place reminders on your cell phone and your electronic logging device (ELD). Since you’re required to have it, you might as well use it to your advantage to avoid CSA points and possible traffic tickets. However, if you do get a ticket, speak to a professional CDL traffic ticket defense attorney.
Kings County CDL Traffic Ticket Defenders
CDL holders should call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, to dispute every traffic ticket. Even something as minor as an expired medical certificate can cause major problems with the zero-tolerance mentality apparent today in many fleet management offices.
Although there are driver shortages nationwide, many of the top-paying firms have high turnover rates because their expectation is that everyone keeps a perfect driving record, both professionally and personally. Don’t let a minor mental error prevent you from getting one of those high-paying driving jobs with a big firm or take you out of the game.
Contact Bigger & Harman for legal assistance. Send them an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide a scanned photocopy of your traffic ticket and provide as many details as you can. We will reply with your options to fight the ticket.
Bigger & Harman’s Facebook business page provides traffic updates, links to articles about CA Vehicle Code updates, and tips to avoid convictions.
Se habla Español 661.349.9755.
Page 1-10 of the 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf
Medical Card Self-Certification article from thebalance.comHow to Avoid 6 Common CSA Points article from Truckinginfo.com