Commercial Driver Medical Examination| Rules and Regulations

New Forms for 2014 DOT Physicals: Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Medical Examination Report Form

The Noticed of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) published on May 10, 2013 by the FMCSA contained provision for a new Medical Examiner’s Certificate and new Medical Examination Report Form (DOT physical form).

1.  Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MCSA-5876): Many of us who have been certified medical examiners for a while now, since testing started about a year ago have been using these forms.  My date of certification was January 25, 2013, and I started to use the new forms as soon as I ran out of the old ones.  Basically, they look the same as the old medical examiner’s certificate except for the following additions:

  • Selection box for:  Other practitioner (besides MD, DO, Chiropractor, Physician Assistant and Advanced Practice Nurse)
  • Field for National Registry No. :  to enter National Registry No. of the medical examiner
  • Field named Intrastate Only (for type of driving):  medical examiner will check yes or no box here
  • Field for CDL:  medical examiner will check yes or no.

Other fields on the medical examiner’s certificate remain the same.  This new medical examiner’s certificate is required to be used by the compliance date May 21, 2014 of the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME).   As long as all of the required information from the old medical examiner’s certificate and the new fields mentioned here are on the card, it can be reduced to fit in the wallet or enlarged to provide to the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state.  The  DMV requires a current (unexpired), legible and properly completed medical examiner’s certificate on an 8 1/2″ by 11″ sheet of paper.  Any illegible, missing fields or signatures, is cause for rejection.  There are professionally printed medical examiner’s certificates and other DOT forms available from companies online, or the forms can be downloaded from the FMCSA website. 

Finally, for those who feel that they don’t need a medical examiner’s certificate because they will be driving in Excepted Interstate or Excepted Intrastate please see the following link to a previous post discussing the New York State K and A3 restriction and changes in the definition of these restrictions that may require license amendment.

2.  Medical Examination Report Form (MER) (MCSA-5875) :  Certified medical examiners are required to use a newly developed MER form in place of the current MER form, and also to use a new form in place of the previous medical examiner’s certificate (see above).  The outcome of the DOT physical (qualified or unqualified is to be entered electronically by the certified medical examiner using the Medical Examination Results Form MCSA-5850 by logging into their individual National Registry accounts.  This is to be done for all DOT physicals, whether or not the commercial driver holds a CDL, CDL permit or is not required to hold a CDL but is required to meet the FMCSA driver physical criteria.  For those drivers that do hold a CDL, once they have self certified, their medical examiner’s certificate data will be transmitted from the National Registry to the State Driver License Agency for incorporation into the Commercial Driver Licensing Information System (CDLIS).  This includes information for voided entries by the FMCSA (drivers improperly qualified by the medical examiner), unqualified drivers, and information on all variances, and exemptions so that the most current information is available on the commercial motor vehicle driver’s qualification.

Changes expected on the new MER Form include removal of instructions to medical examiners on performing and recording of physical examinations.  The newly developed MER Form MCSA-5875 is to used in place of the current MER Form.  It is said to be an improvement on the current form yet more comprehensive and with additional sections that allows more room for a medical examiner statement as well as room for the required medical examiner signature, National Registry Number and medical examiner determination of  driver qualification.  Since all medical examiners are to be certified at this point and knowledgable in FMCSA standards and regulations, the sections on the old MER Form regarding driver’s role, instructions for performing the examination and medical advisory criteria will all be removed.  Most importantly for some drivers, the new MER Form MCSA-5875 will replace the “Temporarily Disqualified ” option and adding “Pending Determination” option.  This is important as it will allow the medical examiner to defer decision temporarily for up to 45 days if additional information is required to determine if a driver is qualified.  An amendment section will also be included if the driver did not require an entirely new physical exam.  When an examiner checks off “Pending Determination” it will still be entered in the National Registry but considered incomplete by the FMCSA.  If it is not updated within the 45 days, both driver and medical examiner will be notified that the examination is now invalid and that a new DOT physical is required.  Other changes in the form include deletion of sone previous medical questions and addition of new questions pertaining to driver health history such as cholesterol levels, tobacco use, illicit drug use in the previous 2 years, failed drug tests and hospitalizations or history of bone fracture.  Other questions included pertain to neck circumference, Body Mass Index (BMI), and whether or not the driver had actual sleep studies performed.