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Federal medical certificate and your Commercial Driver License (CDL) – what you need to know
What is not changing?
Rules concerning which drivers need a federal medical certificate (Fed Med card) with them while operating a commercial vehicle are not changing.
What is changing?
Federal regulations require drivers of commercial motor vehicles to self-certify their type of vehicle operation. The type of driving you do will determine your certification.
The type of certification (tier) you choose will determine whether you must provide a copy of your Fed Med card to the DMV. If you must do this, you will also be required to keep your card up to date and provide a copy to the DMV when you renew or get a new card.
When is this happening?
All CDL holders must self-certify their type of vehicle operation to DMV by January 30, 2014, so many CDL holders don’t need to do anything immediately.
You are impacted sooner if you are a new CDL applicant or up for renewal soon. DMV will walk you through the new process when you apply. If you are not a new CDL applicant or not up for renewal by January 30, 2014, you can self-certify at any time between now and then.
What tier am I?
Ask yourself: Am I an interstate or intrastate driver? Do I operate in an excepted* industry listed below? Your answer will determine your self-certification:
- You are an interstate driver if the load you are carrying crosses state lines at any point during the trip. You will choose Tier 1 if you are operating interstate, not under an exception. You will choose Tier 2 if you are operating interstate under an exception.
- You are an intrastate driver if the load you are carrying stays within the state (it does not cross state lines). You will choose Tier 3 if you are operating intrastate, not under an exception. You will choose Tier 4 if you are operating intrastate under a federal or state exception.
Now you are ready to choose your tier of certification:
- Tier 1: Non-Excepted Interstate – You need to provide a valid Fed
Med card to DMV.
This is the most flexible and covers you under any circumstance.
If you are engaged in interstate commerce, you are required to provide a valid Fed Med card to DMV. Failure to maintain a valid card will result in loss of interstate CDL privileges unless excepted*. Information from your Fed Med card such as the doctor’s name, date of exam, certificate expiration date, etc. will be recorded on your driving record and will be made available to law enforcement.
- Tier 2: Excepted Interstate – You do not need a Fed Med
This means you are engaged in interstate commerce but operating under an exception*.
- Tier 3: Non-Excepted Intrastate – You need a valid Fed Med
card to drive a commercial vehicle. You will need to provide it to DMV when a license is issued, but you do not have to forward a copy of it to the DMV keep on file when the card is updated.
You are engaged in intrastate commerce.
* Does not include exceptions.
- Tier 4: Excepted Intrastate – You do not need
a Fed Med card.
You are engaged in intrastate commerce and subject to an exception*.
Plus Wisconsin exceptions as follows:
- Tow trucks (if requested by a federal, state or local officer to move a wrecked or disabled vehicle).
- Grandfathered (held valid CDL since July 29, 1996 that has not been revoked).
- Wisconsin diabetes exemption to the Fed Med card.
- Wisconsin vision exemption to the Fed Med card.
- All school bus operations.
- Transportation performed by any political subdivision.
- Transportation of human corpses or sick and injured persons.
- Operation of fire trucks and rescue vehicles while involved in emergency and related operations.
- Operation of vehicles designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers not for direct compensation.
- Transportation of propane winter heating fuel or responding to a pipeline emergency.
- Farm custom operation, custom-harvesting operations, transporting farm machinery, supplies, or both to or from a farm for custom-harvesting operations on a farm, or transport custom-harvested crops to storage or market.
- Operation of a commercial motor vehicle controlled and operated by a beekeeper engaged in the seasonal transportation of bees.
- Operation of private motor carrier of passengers (non-business).
- Occasional transportation of personal property not for compensation or commercial enterprise.
If you certify in tiers 2-4, you may still be required to have a Fed Med card due to state statutes or employer policy. However, you do not have to furnish a copy of the Fed Med card to the DMV outside of a normal trip for a license renewal or replacement.
If you have not yet self certified and want to do so now or if you want to upload a new Fed Med card to the DMV, click on the link below to start the process:
Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service
Call: (608) 264-7049
Last modified: February 22, 2013
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