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Medical certification requirements as part of the commercial driver's license (CDL)

Starting Jan. 30, 2012, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) will implement new federal regulations requiring all CDL holders and applicants to certify the type of driving they do, and require interstate CDL holders that carry a Medical Examiner’s Certificate to give the Iowa DOT a copy of their Medical Examiner’s Certificate.

These new regulations DO NOT change who has to obtain a CDL and DO NOT change who has to obtain a Medical Examiner’s Certificate. They only require two things:

  1. All CDL holders and all CDL applicants must self-certify the type of driving they are engaged in. Determine what category to self-certify in.
  2. 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.

When do I need to comply?
All CDL holders must complete the self-certification and provide the Medical Examiner’s Certificate, if required, by Jan. 30, 2014. If you renew or change your CDL before Jan. 30, 2014, you will be required to comply at the time of the renewal or change.

If you do not renew or change your CDL before Jan. 30, 2014, you will need to complete the self-certification and submit the Medical Examiner’s Certificate on or before that date, even though your CDL does not expire until later. If you are a current Iowa CDL holder, you may submit a self-certification by utilizing the following website:  https://mymvd.iowadot.gov/Account/Login. The website will provide further information on submitting your Medical Examiner’s Certificate.   

What happens if I don’t comply?
The federal regulations require the Iowa DOT to downgrade your CDL to a noncommercial license if you do not complete the self-certification of the type of driving you will be engaged in and submit the Medical Examiner’s Certificate, if required, before Jan. 30, 2014.

Why was the Medical Examinerís Certificate rule implemented?
This rulemaking action will help to prevent medically unqualified drivers from operating on the nation's highways by providing statesí licensing agencies a means of identifying interstate CDL holders who are unable to obtain a Medical Examinerís Certificate and taking action to downgrade their CDLs accordingly.

The final rule will also serve as a deterrent to drivers submitting falsified Medical Examinerís Certificates because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and statesí enforcement personnel will now have access, via the Commercial Driver License Information System, to information about the Medical Examinerís Certificate and identity of the medical examiner who performed the examination. Electronic access will enable FMCSA and statesí 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 and submit a Medical Examiner's Certificate


How is the commercial motor vehicle operated?
The first step a driver must do is to determine if he/she is an interstate or intrastate driver. If you are new to the transportation industry, you should decide which one you expect to be engaged in. This step is important because it affects your 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.  


Self-certify
At the time of CDL issuance (initial, renewal, upgrade or transfer), the driver’s license (DL) examiner will ask the driver to self-certify as to what category designation applies to him or her. 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 mark Determine what category to self-certify in

For nonexcepted interstate drivers only
If the driver self-certifies as nonexcepted interstate, he/she must provide a copy of his/her Medical Examiner’s Certificate to the DL examiner at the time the driver applies for a CDL. Information on the certificate will be entered onto the official driver’s record and its expiration date will be tracked. It will be the responsibility of the driver to keep the Medical Examiner‘s Certificate current. Loss of the CDL privilege will result from noncompliance. Follow-up renewals of the Medical Examiner’s Certificate may be submitted to the Iowa DOT by:

  • Mailing the certificate to:
  • Iowa Department of Transportation
    Office of Driver Services
    P.O. Box 9204
    Des Moines, IA 50306-9204
  • Faxing the certificate to the Office of Driver Services at
    515-239-1837.
  • E-mailing a scanned copy of the certificate to the Iowa DOT at CDLMedCert@dot.iowa.gov (e-mail submissions must be scanned and attached as a .pdf.)
  • Presenting the certificate in person at any Iowa DL station or participating treasurer’s office.
For all drivers

The federal rule requires all CDL holders make a revised self-certification prior to Jan. 30, 2014. Drivers whose CDL expiration dates extend beyond Jan. 30, 2014, should take steps to present their self-certification and, if necessary, Medical Examiner Certificate to the Iowa DOT before this date. They may present their self-certifications as listed above. 

How to stay in compliance

Drivers that are required to submit a Medical Examiner’s Certificate must submit a new Medical Examiner’s Certificate before the previous one expires to stay in compliance and avoid a downgrade of their CDL to a non-commercial license. Once you have completed the initial self-certification and submitted your Medical Examiner’s Certificate for the first time, you can submit new Medical Examiner’s Certificates by:
  • Mailing the certificate to:
  • Iowa Department of Transportation
    Office of Driver Services
    P.O. Box 9204
    Des Moines, IA 50306-9204
  • Faxing the certificate to the Office of Driver Services at
    515-239-1837.
  • E-mailing a scanned copy of the certificate to the Iowa DOT at CDLMedCert@dot.iowa.gov (e-mail submissions must be scanned and attached as a .pdf.)
  • Presenting the certificate in person at any Iowa DL station or participating treasurer’s office.