Where can I get the new DOT physical / medical examination forms?
PDF Versions of the forms are available at these links on the FMCSA website:
Medical Examination Report (MER) Form, MCSA-5875
Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC), Form MCSA-5876
Which drivers are required to have a DOT medical certificate?
All CMV drivers who operate in interstate commerce are required to have a medical certificate based on FMCSA requirements.
If they operate a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), gross combination weight rating (GCWR), gross vehicle weight (GCW), or gross combination weight (GCW) of 10,001 pounds or more.
If they transport hazardous materials, in a quantity requiring placards.
If they operate a motor vehicle designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver).
If they operate a motor vehicle designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers, for direct compensation, beyond 75 air miles from the driver’s normal work-reporting location.
Intrastate certification is regulated by the DMV of each state. All states have based their physical qualifications on some of the Federal requirements, but may grant waivers for certain medical conditions.
Some carriers e.g. FedEx, UPS and DHL, are subject to interstate regulations even if they drive intrastate.
Does a DOT medical card have to be obtained in the same state as the CDL is from?
No. An Federal DOT Medical Examiner’s Certificate (Interstate) is valid nationwide so you can get certified in any state, no matter which state you have your CDL.
See also: Who can I go to to get my DOT physical exam done?
I have a CDL and have been notified to present DMV with a medical certificate or I will lose my driving privileges. I’m not currently driving and may not drive again. Do I need to get a DOT physical just to maintain my license?
For more information see our blog post New FMCSA Medical Certification Requirements.
In order to keep your CDL, some states will allow a CDL holder to certify in a category that does not require a medical certificate e.g. Intrastate Excepted, if they are not currently driving.
You will have to check with your State Drivers License Agency (DMV) to see if they permit this option. This will give you a way to maintain your CDL without a current medical card.
If you want to start driving again, you will first have to get a new medical card, and then visit your DMV, to self-certify in the category that is appropriate for the type of driving you will be doing.
Is the DOT medical card transferrable or do I have to get a new one when I start a new job?
A DOT medical card is valid nationwide and can be used by any company so you don’t have to get a new one.
However… There are companies that have a policy in place that states they want you to have the physical exam done by their own examiner. They can require you to take a new physical exam, if is company policy. They also usually will pay for the exam if they require it.
Is there a difference between a DOT medical certificate and a DOT physical card?
No. These terms are used interchangeably. They are most often referred to as a DOT medical when referring to the DOT medical card, and DOT physical when referring to the DOT physical exam, and sometimes drivers refer to them as a CDL physical or CDL medical.
What are the DOT physical requirements?
Here are 3 ways to understand the DOT physical requirements.
The hard way:
Read the FMCSA Rules and Regulations Part 391.41 Physical Qualifications For Drivers
The technical way:
Understand what’s on the DOT long form MCSA-5875, FMCSA DOT Medical Examination Report Form
The easy way:
Read Trucker Docs’ guidebook, How To Take The Stress Out Of Getting Your DOT Medical Card
Does the DOT physical exam include a drug test?
The DOT physical exam requirements do not include a drug test. You will still have to give a urine sample which is used for a kidney screen for potential medical conditions.
However, companies require a pre-employment drug test. So your company may request to have a drug screen done at the same time as you take your DOT physical. Not all medical examiner’s offices that conduct DOT physicals have a drug testing service.
Can I get a copy of my DOT physical long form or will I have to take another physical?
Yes, you can get a copy. Just look on your medical card and find the examiner’s phone number. Call and ask for a copy of your medical long form. They may charge you a few bucks for the service, but it’s cheaper than a new examination.
What do I do if my medical card gets lost or damaged?
Call the doctors office that did the original DOT exam and find out what the process is to get a duplicate made and sent to you. The medical office has to keep this information on file for at least three years, so they will have it.
Do I need a medical card if I’m a local driver?
Requirements for local drivers (intrastate) are regulated by the DMV of each state. You will need to check with your state DMV if you are a local driver. All states have based their DOT physical qualifications on some of the Federal requirements, but may grant waivers for certain medical conditions. If you’re a local driver you can still get your medical card from a certified medical examiner. (Find a CME in your state)
In some cases e.g. FedEx, UPS and DHL, drivers are subject to interstate regulations even if they drive intrastate.
What’s involved in a DOT physical examination?
To best understand what’s involved in a DOT physical, read Trucker Docs™ guidebook, How To Take The Stress Out Of Getting Your DOT Medical Card.
See also the FAQ – What are the DOT physical requirements?
Who can I go to to get my DOT physical exam done?
New federal regulations state that starting May 21, 2014, CMV drivers can get medical certificates only from a medical examiner who is FMCSA National Registry Certified.
(Find a registered CME)
Updated: May 2014
Starting May 21, 2014 you can only get medically certified by a federally certified medical examiner – called a CME or Certified Medical Examiner. That examiner will have a National Registry Number, which must be included on the information on the medical certificate issued to a driver.
Medical professionals who participate in the CME program may be MD, DO, DC, APN, or PA.
The caution here is that even though these professionals are certified by FMCSA, some states will not recognize certain categories of medical professional to qualify drivers within that state. The information we have at this time is: Michigan and Washington do not qualify chiropractic physicians to issue medical certificates for their drivers.
What is a waiver or exemption, and how can I get one?
A waiver or exemption gives a driver temporary relief from a regulation; one of more of the FMCSRs.
FMCSA Exemption Programs are for drivers of CMVs that intend to operate in interstate commerce. A driver may apply for an exemption from any of the standards where the driver can show that safety would not be diminished by granting the exemption. The exemption is granted for up to two years, and may be renewed.
See the FMCSA Driver Exemption Programs for more information and details of how to apply.
Intrastate commerce: FMCSA does not have statutory authority to grant waivers/exemptions to drivers from states’ intrastate requirements. Therefore, the FMCSA waivers/exemptions do not permit regulatory relief for drivers who plan to limit their operations to intrastate commerce.
For how long is my medical certificate valid?
2 years if the driver meets all the FMCSA standards (see DOT physical requirements)
If the driver meets standards, but periodic monitoring is required for certain conditions, a medical certificate will be issued for a limited time period. Depending on those conditions the period could be 1 year, 6 months, 3 months, or some other time limit. e.g. Medical conditions stable, on treatment include hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, sleep disorder, conditions qualified under exemption.
If the driver does not meet FMCSA standards, then medical certification is disqualified. e.g. Disqualified due to medical condition and/or medication, stage 3 hypertension, insulin-dependent diabetes. “Does not meet FMCSA standards” means the driver is not medically qualified at the time of the examination. Until a certified medical examiner makes a determination that the driver is medically qualified the driver is not able to operate a CMV in interstate commerce.
My medical certificate only expires in nine months. What if I recently developed a medical condition that I couldn’t drive. Can I drive truck again now?
Even if you currently have a ‘current’ medical certificate, you are prohibited from driving a CMV with any medical condition that would be disqualifying or may interfere with the safe operation of a CMV. Once a disqualifying medical condition is resolved, and before resuming operation of CMVs, you are responsible for obtaining re-certification from a Medical Examiner.
Can my Company have different medical requirements than the FMCSA requirements?
A company must a least meet the FMCSA medical requirements. However, company policy may impose stricter standards than those required by FMCSA.
Can my new employer make me get a DOT physical even if my current medical certificate is still valid for another 18 months?
Yes, the employer can require you to take a new physical exam, if is company policy. They also usually will pay for the exam if they require it.
What if I develop a medical condition while my current medical certificate is still valid?
If you develop a medical condition that may interfere with the safe operation of a CMV, you are disqualified from driving while you have that condition. Once a disqualifying medical condition is resolved, and before resuming operation of CMVs, you are responsible for obtaining re-certification from a Medical Examiner.
What do I do with the medical certificate (MEC) and long form (MER) once I get them?
Carry the original medical card (Medical Examiner’s Certificate, form MCSA-5876) with you at all times you are driving.
Keep a copy of the long form (Medical Examination Report, form MCSA-5875) for your records. Even though DOT regulations state that you only need to carry the medical card with you, you’ll save yourself hassle if you carry the long form as well.
It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that they have a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate on file with their CDL, so make sure you renew the copy of your Medical Examiner’s Certificate together with your Self-Certification affidavit at your State Drivers License Department. (more info on Self-Certification)
The motor carrier is required to keep a copy of the Medical Examiner’s Certificate in the driver qualification file. Drivers, make sure you provide a copy of the Medical Examiner’s Certificate to the company that employs you.
Certified Medical Examiners:
The medical examiner is required to provide the driver with a paper copy of the original Medical Examiner’s Certificate, form MCSA-5876.
The medical examiner is required to keep the original long form and a copy of the medical certificate on file for a least three years.
The medical examiner is required to enter driver examination results online to the National Registry system for each interstate driver examination. The examination results information is reported whether the examination is completed or not i.e. If a driver leaves the examiner’s clinic during the examination because they do not wish to continue, the medical examiner will report the results as “Incomplete Examination”.
Do I need to have a medical certificate if I operate a CMV only in my home state?
Requirements for intrastate drivers are regulated by the DMV of each state. You will need to check with your state DMV. All states have based their DOT physical qualifications on some of the Federal requirements, but may grant waivers for certain medical conditions. If you drive intrastate you can still get your medical card from a certified medical examiner. (Find a CME in your state)
In some cases e.g. FedEx, UPS and DHL, drivers are subject to interstate regulations even if they drive intrastate.
If a truck has a DOT# on its side, does the driver need a medical card to drive it?
Yes, the driver must have a medical certificate to operate a vehicle being used for commerce. So the truck/trailer and driver must be DOT approved, DOT numbers on the truck and trailer and medical card for the driver. You may want to also check you state DMV regulations.
If I’m working for a company is it their responsibility to pay for the DOT physical exam?
That varies from company to company. Some see it as part of the job and some see it as, “if you don’t have a medical card, you don’t have the job.” These is no set in stone answer.