Not so fast on medical cards: CDL commercial drivers still must carry, Don’t get caught without your Medical Card!!

A driver was just in the office with a friend and was surprised that his buddy received a medical certificate/card following his physical here. Apparently, when the other driver got his physical at another clinic, he was told they no longer received a card stating they were “self-certified”. That is incorrect. They have to have the card to send a copy of it to the state to “self-certify”.

We went to the source at TEAMCME office for clarification. What they clarified is as follows:

 The new law states that you have to carry your card for a minimum of 15 days.

BUT…since the state and national registries are not linked yet, and since police officers/state troopers do not have the capability of pulling the copy of the card up on their in car computers yet, it is expected that all CDL drivers  and any drivers holding a medical certificate/card SHOULD CARRY THEIR CARD WITH THEM. They can be fined or parked if they do not have that card in their possession.

 The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CDL “medical” section page in the Registration portion of its website, accessible at this link, reflects the recent change relative to driver medical cards. As reported previously, CDL holders are required to report their new medical certifications to the state driver’s licensing agency and, as of January 30, will only need to carry the paper copy of their medical card with them for 15 days thereafter, emphasizes Marissa Padilla, FMCSA spokesperson. “FMCSA has worked with state licensing agencies to ensure that medical information is electronically available to law enforcement officers through the Commercial Driver License Information System. The implementation of this regulation will relieve drivers from the burden of carrying a paper document and reduce the potential for fraud.”

Several readers, however, irrespective of whether CDL or non-CDL drivers, noted they’d continue carrying their card and/or the full medical long form in the interim, absent solid evidence that roadside officers wouldn’t be continuing to request certification documentation during inspections. Noted Tom Strese under news of the change on Overdrive‘s Facebook page, for instance: “Maybe [carrying the medical card is] no longer required — until the first uninformed officer writes a person up for not having it.”

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Continuing to carry physical proof of certification will remain the best option, and make sure you get a medical card from your Certified medical examiner upon completion of your DOT Physical.

CDL Medical/Physical Requirements

You must have a valid MCSA-5876 – Medical Examiner Certificate (A “MCSA-5876 – Medical Examiner Certificate” is provided by a National Registered Medical Examiner only. For additional information, please contact, or a photographic copy of your valid Certificate, to receive a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or other commercial license product (e.g., commercial learner’s permit). The Medical Examiner’s Certificate (DOT card) is a federally mandated (U.S. Department of Transportation) document that certifies you meet all physical and medical standards for operating a commercial motor vehicle and the original or photographic copy must be in your possession whenever you are driving.

Special Information Updates – JANUARY 2015 – Pertaining To ALL STATES


The FMCSA has requested that all medical examiners continue providing drivers with a paper copy of the medical certificate so that Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders can provide a copy to the State licensing agency, and the non-CDL drivers can provide the documentation to their employers and Federal and State enforcement officials.

The Agency is currently completing efforts to put into place an electronic system to enable medical examiners to transmit the medical certificate information from the National Registry system to the State licensing agencies. However, until that system is completed, medical examiners must continue to issue paper copies of the medical certificates to drivers who pass the medical exam.


Commercial Drivers – You still need to carry a paper copy of your medical card, until FMCSA announces that this is no longer necessary.

Dr. Tigges is a 2014 FMCSA National Registry Certified Medical Examiner, and is qualified to perform CDL/DOT physicals in Tennessee, as well as BAT (Breath Alcohol Testing) and Drug Testing through a split urine collection (in compliance with the DOT employment drug test requirements). Appointments are preferred, and are available 6 days a week. [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Dr. Michael TiggesDr. Michael Tigges


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About Dr. Michael Tigges

Dr. Michael J. Tigges Certified DOT Medical Examiner Chiropractic Physician Certification: Dr. Tigges is one of the first in TN to become a certified DOT Medical Examiner of the United States Federal Government. The National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners requires all medical examiners performing physical examinations for interstate commercial motor vehicle drivers to be trained and certified in FMCSA physical qualification standards. Education: Palmer College, School of Chiropractic, D.C. About Dr. Tigges: Dr. Michael J. Tigges is originally from Dubuque, Iowa. He earned his Doctorate Degree from Palmer University School of Chiropractic in Davenport, IA. He has been practicing for more than 25 years. He started his practice in 1988 in Gallatin, TN. He serves his patients who live in surrounding communities in middle TN, or those passing through the area. He is a member of the Tennessee Chiropractic Association.