FMCSA makes it official: Drivers must hold on to paper copies of med cards until January 2015

medicalTruck drivers must retain paper copies of their medical examiner’s certification and carry it with them through Jan. 30, 2015, as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced it has pushed back the date when drivers can ditch them.

A 2008 FMCSA rule intended for paper copies to be phased out this month by combining a driver’s CDL and medical certificate, allowing drivers to carry just the one card and enforcement personnel to be able to access the certificate electronically from the CDL.

The agency’s Jan. 10 announcement of the extension, however, was spurred by a lack of readiness from some states and their inability to fully comply with the new system, the agency said. The extension, the agency says, was done “to protect commercial drivers from being cited for violations” in the states who’ve had trouble getting up to speed.

The requirement that drivers self-report their operating status and provide their CDL-issuing state with a valid medical examiner’s certificate, however, is still Jan. 30, 2014, and drivers who do not self-report by then could lose their CDL privileges.

All states are handling the self-reporting procedure differently, though, and drivers are urged to check with their CDL-issuing state to see how they should handle the self-reporting process.