Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The quick and dirty on the Jan. 30 medical certification deadline

Time is just about gone for drivers to get a handle on the medical certification requirements they face.

So, here is the short version on everything you need to know about the medical certification requirements: 
  1. All CDL holders must provide proof of medical certification to their home state driver licensing agency by Jan. 30.
  2. All CDL holders must continue to carry proof of medical certification with them on the road.

 That’s it. There was no delay in the deadline to provide proof to your home state.

Unfortunately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration didn’t do itself a lot of favors when it got everyone all stoked over the latest year-long extension on part of the requirements – and didn’t explain very well what wasn’t being extended.

The extension is just on the requirement to carry your medical card with you on the road. The reason that was extended is so the states that weren’t able to enter the proof of certification into the mega database of CDL holders and tie your medical certification to your CDL would have more time.

And, this is the way life will be from now on. Every time you renew your medical certification you must provide proof to the state. So if you get only six-month certifications, you will be going through this once every six months. It’s the regulatory equivalent of lather-rinse-repeat.

If you don’t provide proof your home state can downgrade your CDL until you provide proof of certification. You may not even know you are downgraded until you’re pulled in for an inspection. That would be a mess, to say the least.

Eventually, you will no longer be required to carry your medical card with you on the road. The new deadline for eliminating that requirement will be Jan. 30, 2015.

But, a word to the wise: Carrying that card isn’t exactly a hardship. And trusting that all the computer records are up-to-date is being awfully trusting. Hanging on to those cards even when it’s not required sure doesn’t seem like a bad idea.