Online Staff Report
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is reminding Illinois commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders of new federal medical requirements set to take effect Wednesday, May 21, for drivers who engage in interstate operation of their commercial motor vehicles.
Beginning May 21, federal law will prohibit the Secretary of State’s office from accepting a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) medical card from CDL holders that has not been signed by a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)-approved medical examiner. Federal law requires that CDL holders must provide updated DOT medical cards every two years. The Secretary of State’s office is forced to cancel the CDL of any driver who does not provide an approved DOT medical card every two years.
“Commercial motor vehicle operators are the backbone of our economy,” said White. “That is why over the last three years my office has worked tirelessly to communicate with CDL holders and the trucking industry about these new federal medial requirements,” said White.
The National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) is a new FMCSA program that requires all medical examiners who wish to perform physical examinations for interstate commercial motor vehicle drivers to be trained and certified in FMCSA physical qualification standards. Medical examiners who have completed the training and successfully passed the test are included in an online directory on the National Registry website. Approximately 1,600 Illinois medical examiners have been approved by FMCSA
Nearly 200,000 Illinois CDL holders have declared engaging in interstate operation of their commercial motor vehicles. When interstate operation is declared, the CDL holder must provide the Secretary of State’s office a copy of their DOT medical card. This information is then submitted through the Commercial Driver’s License Information System, which is accessible by law enforcement nationwide.
“The Illinois Secretary of State has been a national leader in implementing the federal CDL medical changes,” said Matt Hart, executive director of the Illinois Trucking Association. “The agency has worked well with the Illinois Trucking Association over the past three years to communicate with the trucking industry and to ensure that professional truck drivers in Illinois can safely deliver the goods that are vital to the people of Illinois.”
“We commend Secretary of State White and his staff for reaching out to the hundreds of thousands of CDL holders to facilitate this federal requirement in the easiest way possible,” said Don Schaefer, executive vice president of the Mid-West Truckers Association.
The Secretary of State’s office has made repeated efforts to make CDL holders aware of the federal requirements through both direct communication and various CDL industries. In addition, the office has engaged in substantial outreach efforts to help ensure that all CDL holders are aware of their obligations and possible cancellation of their CDL privileges. These outreach efforts included presentations at truck and trade shows, communication with regional superintendents of education (most school bus drivers hold CDLs), communication with the 25 largest CDL trucking companies in Illinois, and direct communication to dozens of professional organizations whose members include CDL holders.
Drivers may find their nearest FMCSA-approved medical examiner by visiting CDL the National Registry at: nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/NRPublicUI/home.seam.
More information is available at: cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/drivers_license/CDL/cdl.html#medical or by calling the Secretary of State’s CDL Medical Card Unit at (217) 785-3002.