Who Needs a DOT Medical Card?

Written by Nick Webster

Published on June 8, 2023, 11 a.m.

Who Needs a DOT Medical Card?

Here is who needs a DOT medical card:

  • Drivers of commercial vehicles that require a CDL
  • Drivers in interstate commerce for vehicles over 10,000 pounds
  • Drivers operating motor vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver
  • Bus drivers
  • School bus drivers
  • Limousine drivers
  • Chauffeurs and taxi cab operators
  • Paratransit and other public transportation vehicle operators
  • Any driver identified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as requiring a medical examiner’s certificate/DOT card.


Maintaining good physical condition is essential for truckers, yet many people outside of the industry don't realize how taxing driving can be on the body. “DOT” refers to the US Department of Transportation.That's why commercial drivers are required to pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical health exam every few years. This comprehensive assessment evaluates a driver's overall fitness and helps ensure that they're up to the task when it comes to operating large vehicles.

Are you registering for a DOT medical card for the first time or in need of renewal? Either way, it's important to understand all the requirements so you can get your medical card without any hiccups. Here is an overview of everything you need to know about medical cards for truck drivers. Starting a Trucking Company Correctly.Knowing this information will help ensure that your application process goes smoothly!

What Does the DOT Physical Exam Involve?

In order to get the DOT physical completed, potential drivers must provide information on their medical history and have vital signs taken. Additionally, they are subject to a urine test, a hearing test, as well as a sight test. All of these components combined make up the five-page report that is required for the completion of the physical. Upon successful success in meeting all requirements set forth by the DOT, drivers can then move forward with obtaining their commercial driver's license and begin hauling cargo across state lines. Visit DOT Authority Package, Tips to prepare for 2023 DOT Week filings in minutes.

If you pass the medical examination conducted by a certified DOT medical examiner, and you are found to be in good health, you will receive your certificate and be cleared to drive for up to 24 months. In some cases, your ME may want to monitor any existing conditions closely such as high blood pressure which could necessitate a follow-up visit prior to the expiration of the two-year period.

What Are Medical DOT Cards?

To get behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), you must first go through a physical exam. Although many truckers refer to a medical DOT card” or DOT medical card,” the document more accurately known as the Medical Examiner's Certificate is actually not quite a card. MCS-150 Must visit FMCSA Hours of Service Suspended topics. It is instead awarded after an ME performs a physical exam and confirms that you can safely drive your CMV. To be legally allowed to operate on public roads in the US, obtaining this certificate is essential.

Who Need To Get a DOT Medical Card?

Do you drive interstate? If so, then you may need to obtain a Department of Transportation (DOT) medical card. Depending on the parameters of your work, if you operate a vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight (GVW), gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), gross combination weight (GCW), or gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 10,001 pounds or more; transports more than 15 people with direct compensation; or is designed to carry hazardous materials, then it's essential for safety and compliance reasons that you have a DOT medical card. Each state may also have additional requirements when it comes to intrastate driving - so please check your local laws.

Which Doctors Can Perform DOT Physicals?

Any doctor listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration National Registry and familiar with the qualifications can provide a DOT physical. The term medical examiner” includes doctors of medicine (MD), doctors of osteopathy (DO), physician assistants (PA), advanced practice nurses (APN), and chiropractors (DC). All these medical professionals are qualified to perform this exam. Have you ever failed a drug test? Visit How To Pass Dot Drug Test? Do you have any medical symptoms at the moment?

FMCSA Medical Card Overview

All drivers of commercial vehicles in interstate commerce with a gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 10,000 pounds must acquire and maintain a valid Medical Examiner's Certificate (ME Certificate). Besides ME Certificate, those who drive vehicles necessitating a Commercial Driver's License are additionally subject to two other parameters.

CDL holders must provide their State Driver Licensing Agency (SDLA) with a copy of their Medical Examiner's Certificate. This requirement only applies to CDL holders and is used to ensure that their State driving record is up-to-date. Non-CDL drivers do not need to self-certify or submit a copy of the ME Certificate. Drug and Alcohol Program policy. If any discrepancies are found in which the CDL holder is operating beyond the category they have self-certified, they may face suspension or revocation of their commercial driving privileges.

Without question, CDL drivers who fail to update the expiration date of their ME Certificate with their state are at risk of having their commercial driving privileges downgraded. As a result, they won't be able to drive a commercial motor vehicle that requires a CDL. To ensure you can keep your CDL and remain eligible to operate a CMV, make sure to stay up-to-date on your certificate's expiration date with your state.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has thoroughly checked that all states are in compliance with the Med Cert requirements as of January 30, 2015. This means that each state is now posting the essential information related to medical qualifications, allowing motor carriers to quickly verify if a driver meets the necessary criteria. With this verification process complete, employers can rest assured knowing they are abiding by FMCSA regulations.

The FMCSA has advised both its staff and roadside enforcement personnel to accept proof of a driver's medical certification status and expiration date on a CDLIS MVR as sufficient evidence that a driver is meeting the medical qualification requirements. The basic details included in this document are the driver’s medical status and the expiration date of the medical examiner’s certificate. You will then have the ability to maintain complete motor carrier authority.

Furthermore, most states are now supplying complete medical certification information as part of their CDLIS MVRs. Until all States have adopted this practice, drivers should ensure they can provide documentation to verify their current medical qualifications upon request.

What is the FMCSA’s Policy on Drivers With Physical Impairments?

Drivers with physical impairments that restrict their ability to safely drive commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must receive approval from their State in the form of a variance” document. This document should be kept on hand while the driver is operating a CMV. By having this variance, these drivers are able to take part in commercial driving activities and contribute to the industry.

According to the FMCSA, drivers with missing limbs who are eligible must obtain an SPE certificate. It's important for them to always keep their certificate on hand when driving commercially, as it is a special type of "variance" required under such circumstances.

An SPE is necessary in order to ensure the driver's ability to safely and effectively operate their vehicle. What is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement? Without this certification, they may be unable to work professionally behind the wheel. Acquiring an SPE can help provide peace of mind and open new professional opportunities.

Summary: Who Must Have a DOT Medical Card?

  • Drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) require a CDL, as defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
  • Drivers of non-excepted interstate vehicles.
  • Drivers of excepted interstate vehicles if they are required to have a medical certificate in accordance with their state laws.
  • Drivers of intrastate non-excepted vehicles.
  • Bus drivers transport passengers for hire, such as school buses, tour buses, or shuttle buses.

Any driver who is subject to any FMCSA safety regulations. This includes those transporting hazardous materials and those conducting special driving activities like operating tankers or double trailers.