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What is a Medical Card? Medical Card and the FVD [49 CFR 391.2(c)]
It is a document, typically wallet-sized, that has been signed by Generally, farm vehicle drivers operating articulated vehicles
a qualified medical professional indicating that the driver has - semis, trucks pulling trailers, and even pickups pulling
passed a DOT Physical and is generally physically qualified, gooseneck trailers - lose this FVD exemption and must carry a
under federal law, to drive a truck. That DOT physical looks at a valid medical card.
specified set of conditions including such things as eyesight and
hearing, range of motion in joints, loss of limbs, and the presence Medical Card and the CFV [49 CFR 391.2(d)]
of potentially debilitating disorders such as diabetes or seizures. Drivers operating a CFV are exempt from the requirement to have
While most physicians are medically qualified to conduct the a Medical Card. Specifically, the exemption is from the rules in
physical, not all offer the service. Special examination forms are Part 391, Subpart E.
available online. Medical Card Exemptions
Medical Examiner Certification 1. Certain Farm Vehicle Drivers (FVD): Generally, this
Since May 20, 2014, interstate drivers are allowed to use exemption is available only to a sub-set of those drivers who
only those examiners who are USDOT certified to give the DOT qualify as an FVD. That sub-set includes only those operating
physical. The restriction significantly cuts the availability of the a straight truck. FVD drivers who operate a combination
service - especially in sparsely populated areas of the state. vehicle (i.e., truck-trailer combination or a semi) are not
eligible for this exemption.
Requirement to Have a Medical Card
Federal law [49 CFR 391] and Illinois law generally start from 2. Covered Farm Vehicles (CFV): This one is very simple. It
the premise that virtually everyone who drives a truck or a truck- applies the exception from the DOT physical to all drivers
trailer combination of 10,001 pounds or more in commerce who operate a CFV, whether straight truck or a combination
(including farming) is subject to the requirement. vehicle.
Requirement [49 CFR 391.1] Requirement to Carry a Medical Card
Drivers of commercial vehicles generally must undergo a DOT All drivers required to undergo a DOT physical must continue to
driver physical once every two years and carry a card (unless carry a medical card with them unless they have been certified
it is registered in CDLIS) signed by the examining physician as "NI" (Non-Exempt Interstate.) See below. Those NI drivers may
indicating he/she is physically qualified to drive a commercial now leave their medical cards at home - their medical card record
motor vehicle. With some exceptions, a medical card must be is included in the federal electronic database for CDL drivers
obtained by a driver if they: known as CDLIS.
1. Operate a commercial vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight CDL holders must comply
Rating (GVWR) or a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) All drivers who have a CDL (whether you are required to have
of 10,001 pounds or more in a commercial enterprise that CDL or not) had to appear in person at a CDL testing facility
(includes farming); or to affirm whether they are required to have passed a recent DOT
physical and whether they drive on an interstate or intrastate
2. Operate a passenger vehicle designed to transport 16 or basis. Generally, those interstate drivers who are required by law
more passengers - 8 or more if for hire - including the driver; to undergo a DOT physical had to have proof of compliance in-
or hand at the time of that visit.
3. Operate a vehicle required by federal regulations to be This requirement began January 30, 2012. Now, CDL drivers need
placarded while transporting hazardous materials. to repeat the process every time their DOT physical is renewed.
Note: This definition of "Commercial vehicle" differs from that
used for the CDL.
Failure to Comply Interstate vs. Intrastate
Failure to comply will result in the driver's CDL status being Your operation can be considered trucking in "interstate
reduced to Non-CDL. There will likely be a 30-day grace period in commerce" in either of two ways. Crossing the state line is clearly
which to reclaim your CDL through certification. If not certified an interstate move; however, traveling point-to-point within the
within the grace period, the CDL could be permanently forfeited State of Illinois is also considered interstate commerce if the load
and you would need to start from scratch to get a new one. you are hauling is part of an interstate shipment - generally,
cargo that originates in one state and is ultimately destined for
another state or country.
It is up to the driver to make his or her own decision about which
category to declare. The Secretary of State's staff has been 1. If you operate in interstate commerce then report yourself as
instructed to not make that decision for the driver. There are four an Interstate Driver by selecting either "NI" or "EI".
categories from which to choose: 2. If you operate in intrastate commerce, then report yourself
1. Non-excepted Interstate (NI): Drive on an interstate basis as an Intrastate Driver by selecting either "NA" or "EA".
and meet 49 CFR 391 requirements (must have a medical
certificate - must provide the state's Driver's License Agency K Restriction
with an original Copy of the Medical Certificate). If you have declared yourself to be an intrastate-only driver
(NA or EA), then a "K" restriction will be added to your CDL. That
2. Excepted Interstate (EI): Drive on an interstate basis and prohibits the use of your CDL for operating a truck outside the
excepted from 49 CFR 391 requirements (does not need state of Illinois.
medical certificate to drive interstate).
3. Non-excepted Intrastate (NA): Drive on an intrastate basis
and subject to state medical card requirements as in law
4. Excepted Intrastate (EA): Drive on an intrastate basis and
excepted from all or part of State medical card requirements.
APPLIES ONLY TO DRIVERS WHO HAVE A CDL
Medical NI NA
Medical Card EI EA
Update before medical card expires
Generally, the driver is being asked two questions:
1. Are you an interstate or intrastate driver?
2. Are you required to have a medical card?
If your driver status changes, you must notify the Secretary of
How do you get a new medical card if yours is lost or damaged? My card is lost or damaged — Log into (or create) your secure Medicare account to print or order an official copy of your Medicare card. You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to order a replacement card to be sent in the mail.
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