Compliance Corner: That Unexpected Letter
January 1, 2012
You’ve just returned home from a week on the road. You’re going through the mail…bills, a bank statement, junk mail, a letter from DMV….what? It isn’t time to renew your CDL and you haven’t received a traffic citation, so why a letter from DMV?
This scenario is playing out in mailboxes throughout the country as state licensing agencies are getting ready to implement the first steps of what will result in the merger of your medical examiner’s certificate and CDL.
What is this about & what does it mean?
Back in December 2008, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a rulemaking, to merge the driver’s medical examiner’s certificate with his/her CDL. Under this rulemaking, starting January 30, 2012, a CDL holder who operates in interstate commerce is required to turn in to his/her state licensing agency a current copy of his/her medical examiner’s certificate. The driver will also be required to certify that he/she is subject to the driver qualification (including physical qualification) regulations in Part 391 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).
This information must be turned in by January 30, 2014. If the driver does not turn in this information, the state licensing agency will remove the driver’s CDL privileges from the license. In other words, the license will be downgraded to a non-CDL class.
The information provided by the driver will be entered on the driver’s driving record by the state licensing agency. The end result, as of January 30, 2014, is that interstate CDL holders will no longer need to carry a copy of the medical examiner’s certificate and a motor carrier will no longer need to keep a copy in the driver’s qualification file. Until January 30, 2014, drivers must continue carrying the medical examiner’s certificate and motor carriers must maintain a copy in the driver’s qualification file.
Why am I receiving a letter now?
As 2012 begins, the process to merge these documents is starting, and that’s why many drivers are receiving letters from DMV.
Have you received a letter yet? If you have, follow the directions provided. Because of differences in how this process will be handled by each state, the process you are instructed to follow may be different than that of another driver whose CDL is issued in another state.
In general, states are asking drivers to certify the type of driving they do or expect to do:
- Non-excepted interstate — Operate in interstate commerce and subject to the qualification requirements in Part 391.
- Excepted interstate — Operate in interstate commerce, but are exclusively involved in excepted operations under the FMCSRs. Examples of excepted operations include transportation performed by federal, state or local government, operation of fire trucks and rescue vehicles during an emergency, and farm custom operations.
- Non-excepted intrastate — Only operates in intrastate commerce and is subject to state qualification requirements.
- Excepted intrastate — Only operates in intrastate commerce and is exclusively involved in operations that are excepted from the state’s qualification requirements.
States are also asking drivers to provide a copy of their current medical examiner’s certificate. Procedures to turn in this document range from mail to fax to turning it in in person, and are not the same in all states. Again, follow the directions you receive from your state licensing agency.
If you haven’t received a letter yet, don’t panic. Some states have not yet finalized their process and haven’t sent letters yet. Also, make sure the address that DMV has on file is your current address. Without an accurate and current address, the state licensing agency cannot forward this information to you in a timely manner.
The bottom line
The merging of the medical card and CDL is one of the biggest procedural changes drivers have seen in their careers. The bottom line is that though the end result will be the same for all drivers across the country — the CDL serving as both the driver’s license and medical certificate, how each state gets to that result will differ.
Jill Schultz is an Editor — Transportation Safety for J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. Contact her at email@example.com. Also be sure to check out J. J. Keller’s website at jjkeller.com