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Commercial driver’s license (CDL) certification and medical certificate

Federal regulations require all CDL holders and applicants to certify how they operate their commercial motor vehicle whenever they renew, upgrade, or obtain a CDL for the first time. A CDL holder must certify to one of four categories that apply to the type of driving they do. 

Question markDetermine which category applies to me.

 Requirements

What do I have to do?

  • All CDL holders and all CDL applicants must self-certify the type of driving they are engaged in whenever they renew, upgrade, or obtain a CDL for the first time. Determine which category applies to me.
  • Drivers that certify to "nonexcepted interstate" driving must give the Iowa DOT a copy of their Medical Examiner’s Certificate, and must keep that Medical Examiner’s Certificate current.

Medical Examiner's Certificate

CDL holders that certify to the “nonexcepted interstate” category must provide a copy of their Medical Examiner’s Certificate to the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Beginning May 21, 2014, a commercial driver who is renewing or obtaining a new Medical Examiner’s Certificate must be examined by a medical professional listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Medical certificates issued on or after this date must include the medical examiner’s national registry number. Medical certificates issued prior to this date are still valid until their expiration date. You can learn more about the national registry and search for a certified medical examiner at: https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov.

Intrastate drivers

Beginning July 1, 2014, drivers who certify to intrastate driving, either excepted or nonexcepted, will have a “K” restriction placed on their license. The restriction limits the driver to intrastate driving whenever they operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

 What happens if I don't comply?

If a CDL holder is not in compliance, federal regulations require the Iowa DOT to downgrade their CDL to a noncommercial license. It is important for CDL holders certified as “nonexcepted interstate” to track the expiration date of their Medical Examiner’s Certificate and provide the Iowa DOT with a copy of their new certificate when it is renewed.

 Why was this implemented?

This rule making action helps to prevent medically unqualified drivers from operating on the nation's highways by providing states’ licensing agencies a means of identifying interstate CDL holders who are unable to obtain a Medical Examiner’s Certificate and taking action to downgrade their CDLs accordingly.

The rule also serves as a deterrent to drivers submitting falsified Medical Examiner’s Certificates because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and states’ enforcement personnel will now have access, via the Commercial Driver License Information System, to information about the Medical Examiner’s Certificate and identity of the medical examiner who performed the examination. Electronic access will enable FMCSA and states’ enforcement personnel to detect certain patterns or anomalies concerning the source of medical certificates through queries of the licensing databases at any time rather than being limited to checking for such issues during roadside inspections and compliance reviews.

 How to self-certify

How is the commercial motor vehicle operated?
Whenever a CDL is issued, a driver’s license examiner will ask the CDL driver to self-certify to the category designation that applies to him or her. The first step is to determine if he/she is an interstate or intrastate driver. If someone is new to the transportation industry, that person should decide which category they expect to be engaged in. This step is important because it affects the self-certification.
Interstate drivers transport loads across state lines or continue the transportation of loads originating in another state or country.

Intrastate drivers transport loads only within the state of Iowa. Their loads originate and terminate in Iowa. Drivers who certify in this category will have a “K” restriction placed on their license indicating intrastate driving only (when operating a commercial motor vehicle).

Self-certify
The driver must select which one of the four categories applies to them. The categories are:

Nonexcepted interstate: This driver conducts interstate commerce and must have a Medical Examiner’s Certificate per federal regulation. The certificate must be placed on file with the Iowa DOT under the new regulations.

Excepted interstate: This driver conducts interstate commerce, but is involved in one of the several transportation activities that have a federal exception from the medical requirements (49 CFR parts 390.3(f), 391.2, 391.68, and 398.3).

Nonexcepted intrastate: This driver conducts intrastate commerce within the state of Iowa and must have a Medical Examiner’s Certificate per Iowa Code 321.449 and 321.450. The certificate does not have to be on file with the Iowa DOT.

Excepted intrastate: This driver operates within the state of Iowa, but is excepted from medical requirements per Iowa Code 321.449 and 321.450.

Question markDetermine which category applies to me

 How to submit a medical certificate if required

If the driver self-certifies as nonexcepted interstate, he/she must provide a copy of his/her Medical Examiner’s Certificate to the driver’s license examiner at the time the driver applies for a CDL. Beginning May 21, 2014, commercial drivers renewing or obtaining a new Medical Examiner’s Certificate must be examined by a medical professional listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Information on the certificate, including the medical examiner’s national registry identification number, will be entered onto the official driver’s record and its expiration date will be tracked. It is the responsibility of the driver to keep the Medical Examiner‘s Certificate current and provide updated copies to the Iowa DOT.  

Question markFind a certified medical examiner on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners

Submitting renewed medical certificates

Drivers that are required to submit a Medical Examiner’s Certificate must provide a new Medical Examiner’s Certificate to the Iowa DOT before the previous one expires to stay in compliance and avoid a downgrade of their CDL to a noncommercial license. Renewed Medical Examiner’s Certificates can be submitted to the Iowa DOT in the following ways.

  • Mailing the certificate to:
    Iowa Department of Transportation
    Office of Driver Services
    P.O. Box 9204
    Des Moines, IA 50306-9204

Check your status on myMVD

Log in to myMVD to check your certification status by going to https://mymvd.iowadot.gov/Account/Login.