Questions and Answers on the NEW Commercial Driver Requirement


  • I heard there is a new requirement for people who wish to obtain or who currently hold a commercial driver's license?

    Yes, everyone who wishes to obtain or who currently holds a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) will need to inform the RMV of the type of commerce they plan to operate within (interstate or intrastate) and whether or not they are required to hold a medical certificate. This notification is called self-certification.

    Those drivers required to have a DOT medical certificate will also need to provide the RMV with a copy.

  • Why is this new requirement called self-certification?

    It is called self-certification because the driver, alone, needs to determine the self-certification category they fall into based on their driving information.

  • When do I need to self-certify and provide the RMV with a copy of my medical certificate, if applicable?

    Beginning August 15, 2012 CDL drivers can complete their CDL Self-Certification with the RMV. Customers who wish to obtain, or who currently hold a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) that is being renewed, upgraded, or transferred from another State, will be required to self-certify in a branch office at that time.

    All other CDL drivers have until January 30, 2014 to self-certify and do not have to visit a RMV branch office at this time. Compliance information for these drivers will be available in early 2013.

    If a driver's medical examiner's certificate is only valid with a vision, diabetes, or skills performance evaluation variance granted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the driver will also need to provide this documentation to the RMV.

  • Aside from the RMV who else will have access to my self-certification information?

    A driver's self-certification category and medical certificate information, if applicable, will be become part of the CDLIS driver record for use by law enforcement.

  • Where can I find the CDL Self-Certification Form?

    The CDL Self-Certification Form can be found on the RMV website under the Forms & Manuals tab in the Licensing section.

  • Do I need to submit all nine (9) pages of the Medical Examination Report?

    No, you only need to provide the completed one-page Medical Examiner's Certificate. This is the final page of the full Medical Examination Report signed by the medical provider.

  • Is there anything else that I should be aware of in regard to the medical certificate?

    The medical certificate you present should have an expiration date that is greater than ninety (90) days in the future.

    There are six (6) conditions that appear on the top of a medical certificate and may be selected by a medical examiner. Option number 3 is selected if a medical certificate is only valid if accompanied by a waiver or exemption. Although the term waiver is used, this is referring to a federal medical variance or exemption, not the state issued intrastate medical waiver.

    If your medical provider selected condition 3 - accompanied by waiver/exemption, or 6 - accompanied by a Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate (SPE) your medical certificate is only considered valid when accompanied by the FMCSA issued exemption or SPE. A V (variance) restriction will also be added to your license if it had not been previously.

  • Will I still have to carry my medical certificate with me?

    You will need to carry your medical certificate with you until January 30, 2014. After that date, you will no longer need to carry it.

  • Am I affected by the new requirement if I operate a commercial motor vehicle that does not require me to have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL)?

    No, if you operate a commercial motor vehicle that is over 10,000 lbs. and less than 26,000 lbs. with a Class D license, you are not required to self-certify. However, if you are required to hold a medical certificate, you must continue to carry it with you.

  • What is the difference between Interstate and Intrastate commerce?

    Interstate commerce is trade, traffic, or transportation involving the crossing of a state boundary. Either the vehicle, its passengers, or cargo must cross a state boundary, or there must be the intent to cross a state boundary to be considered an interstate carrier.

    Intrastate commerce is trade, traffic, or transportation within a single state.

    For additional information on interstate and intrastate commerce, please refer to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Website at www.fmcsa.dot.gov

  • How many self-certification categories are there?

    There are four (4) different categories you may fall into as a CDL driver. The category you choose depends on whether you operate in interstate or intrastate commerce and whether or not you are required to have a medical certificate or are exempt.

    • Non-excepted Interstate (NI) - You operate or expect to operate in interstate commerce, and are subject to meet federal qualification requirements (Title 49, Section 391.64) and are required to obtain a medical examiner's certificate.
    • Excepted Interstate (EI) - You operate or expect to operate in interstate commerce, but engage exclusively in transportation or operations that are excepted from all or parts of the federal qualification requirements, and are therefore not required to obtain a medical examiner's certificate.
    • Non-excepted Intrastate (NA) - You only operate in intrastate commerce and are subject to State driver qualification requirements.
    • Excepted Intrastate (EA) - You operate in intrastate commerce, but engage exclusively in transportation or operations excepted from all or parts of the State driver qualification requirements, and are therefore not required to obtain a medical examiner's certificate.

    You may be limited in the category you can select based on current license restrictions, age, or conditions that have been checked on the medical certificate by the medical examiner who conducted your DOT exam.

  • What if I don't normally operate in interstate commerce but meet the qualifications to do so?

    You should self-certify at the highest standard for which you qualify. NI is the broadest category and the one you should select if you meet the criteria, even if you currently do not consider yourself an interstate driver.

  • Can you provide examples for each of the categories?

    Following are the types of drivers that may fall into each category.

    • Non-excepted Interstate (NI) - All Class A, B, or C privately or self-employed commercial drivers who operate or expect to operate in interstate commerce, and are subject to meet the federal medical standard and therefore are required to obtain a medical examiner's certificate. All Class A, B, or C drivers who do not fall under any other category or who have been granted a federal vision or diabetes exemption or a Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE).
    • Excepted Interstate (EI) -
      • City, municipal, or state employed CDL holders
    • Non-excepted Intrastate (NA) -
      • Drivers 18-21 years of age with a K restriction associated with their license to operate
      • Drivers 21 and over with a W Restriction associated with their license to operate
    • Excepted Intrastate (EA) - Same examples as Excepted Interstate except only engaging in Intrastate commerce

    See the CDL Self-Certification policy on the RMV website for a more extensive list of examples at https://secure.rmv.state.ma.us/Policybrowserpublic/PolicyBrowser.aspx?turl=WordDocuments/cdlselfcertificationpolicy.htm

  • How do I know if I need to have a DOT medical certificate?

    To qualify for a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) in Massachusetts, you must pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) medical examination. Medical examiner's certificates are valid for no more than two years. Some medical conditions may require you to have a physical examination more frequently.

  • What if I do not meet the physical qualifications required?

    If you do not meet the vision or diabetes physical qualification standards, or have a loss or impairment of limbs, you may be able to satisfy alternative physical qualifications or qualify for an exemption with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Additional information can be found on the FMCSA website at www.fmcsa.dot.gov

  • What if I can't meet the medical qualifications for interstate commercial operation?

    If you do not meet the medical qualifications for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) interstate commercial operation, you may qualify for an intrastate medical waiver through the Registry of Motor Vehicles. This waiver permits operation of a CMV used in Massachusetts intrastate commerce only. Intrastate medical waiver applications and information may be accessed through the following link: http://www.massrmv.com/rmv/forms/21156.pdf Individuals who have been issued a intrastate medical waiver will have a W (waiver) restriction placed on their license.

  • Why did my employer tell me that I do not need to have a DOT medical certificate even though I drive a commercial vehicle?

    Most city, municipal, and state employed commercial drivers are not required to obtain a medical certificate. The same is true for beekeepers who operate commercial vehicles. However, this is only if you drive exclusively for a municipality or state agency.

  • What if I work for a city or state agency but also plow in the winter for a contractor in my town?

    In this case, you would need to have a medical certificate if you are operating a commercial vehicle over 10,000 lbs. Also, drivers transporting 15 or more passengers or carrying placarded hazardous materials, regardless of vehicle size, are required to carry a DOT medical certificate.

  • I'm not currently driving a CDL vehicle or employed as a CDL driver. Do I still need to self-certify?

    Yes, if you would like to keep your CDL, you must self-certify. Otherwise, you may choose to downgrade to a Class D license. Drivers cannot keep a CDL without self-certifying.

  • What if I fail to provide the required information?

    Failure to self-certify and provide a copy of your medical certificate, if you require one, by January 30, 2014 will result in the downgrading of your commercial driver license (CDL).

    If you are a Class A, B or C Learner's Permit holder your permit will be deleted upon self-certification expiration. You will be required to reapply for a Commercial Learner's Permit. All associated fees and testing requirements will apply.

  • How often do I need to provide the RMV with my self-certification information?

    For NI and NA categorized drivers, self-certification is tied to the expiration date of the medical certificate, variance, SPE or waiver. Therefore, drivers will need to self-certify at least every two years.

    EI and EA drivers will need to re-certify every five years at the time of license renewal.

    A driver may also need to re-certify prior to an expiration date if the type of driving that is conducted has changed.

  • How will I know when I need to re-certify?

    After your initial self-certification, you will receive a reminder letter when your self-certification is due to expire. A notice will be sent to the address we have on record prior to the expiration date. If you do not re-certify by the expiration date, you will no longer be authorized to operate a vehicle requiring a commercial driver license (CDL).

    You may also need to re-certify prior to the expiration date if the type of driving you conduct has changed.

  • If I do not re-certify, what will happen?

    If your updated information is not received within 60 days after the expiration date on record:

    1. The RMV will downgrade you to a Class D license which will be mailed to you.
    2. A $25.00 license amendment fee will be posted on your driving record to be collected at the time of your next license transaction.

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