Yes if you fall into one of these categories:

  •      You operate a motor vehicle designed to carry more than 15 people.
  •      You are paid to operate a motor vehicle designed to carry more than 8 people.
  •      You operate a motor vehicle with a gross combination weight rating, gross vehicle weight, gross vehicle weight rating, or      gross combination weight of over 10,000 pounds.
  •      You transport hazardous materials that require your vehicle to be placarded

The criterion in this definition that causes confusion is the vehicle weight. The general weight criterion for which a CDL is needed is 26,001 pounds. The weight criterion for which a physical is needed is 10,001 pounds. So, interstate drivers of vehicles between 10,001 and 26,001 pounds (not hauling hazmat) need to have a medical exam but do not need to have a CDL. (The other DQ requirements apply as well.)

For intrastate drivers, it depends on what the state has adopted for the weight criterion. A number of states use the same 10,001-pound criterion as is found in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Other states have increased the weight limit to anywhere from 12,000 pounds up to 26,001 pounds (which does coincide with the CDL requirements). A few states also have grandfather clauses or other exemptions that may except certain individuals from the medical requirement.

Non-CDL drivers who are subject to the medical exam requirement must have a valid medical certificate (DOT medical card) in their possession while driving, and their employing motor carrier must have a copy of the certificate in the driver’s qualification file.

Drivers who hold a CDL or commercial learner’s permit (CLP) must provide each new certificate to their state licensing agency and carry a copy for at least 15 days after issuance, until their state driving record (MVR) is updated. Their employing motor carrier must also have a copy of the certificate in the file for up to 15 days. By the end of those 15 days, a new MVR must be placed in the employee’s file as proof of medical certification.

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