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Commercial Driver License (CDL) Medical Certification Requirement

All commercial drivers are required to comply with the CDL medical certification requirement. This requires all CDL holders to self-certify to a single commercial operation status to obtain or maintain their CDL status.

Medical Certification Instructions

Applicants are required to complete one of the following forms for medical certification.

Each form allows applicants to certify to one of the following CDL categories. The category that the applicant certifies to, determines if a medical variance or a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) medical examiners certificate is required.

Category 1: Non-Excepted-Interstate Commerce (CDL-4)
Most CDL holders who drive CMV’s in interstate commerce are non-excepted interstate commerce drivers. This category requires a medical examiners certificate. If CDL holders operate in both excepted and non-excepted interstate commerce, they must follow non-excepted interstate commerce guidelines and present a medical examiners certificate.

Category 2: Excepted-Interstate Commerce (CDL-10)
This certification category is for applicants that will operate their CMV for excepted activities. Applicants will be restricted to operate their CMV in the excepted activity to which they certify. This category will NOT require a medical examiners certificate, but are required to meet Texas medical standards.

Category 3: Non-Excepted-Intrastate Commerce (CDL-5 part B)
This certification category is for applicants that will only drive a CMV in intrastate commerce and are required to meet the medical requirements for Texas. A medical examiners certificate will be required.

Category 4: Excepted-Intrastate Commerce (CDL-5 part A)
This certification category is for applicants that operate a CMV only in intrastate commerce. The driver has been regularly employed operating a CMV in Texas prior to August 28, 1989 and is not operating a CMV requiring a hazardous materials placard. This category will NOT require a medical examiners certificate, but the driver is required to meet Texas medical standards.

Category 4: Excepted-Intrastate Commerce (CDL-5 part C)
This certification category is for applicants that operate a CMV only in intrastate commerce for excepted activities (oil/water well servicing and/or drilling or mobile crane operations). Applicants will be restricted to operate their CMV in the excepted activity to which they certify. This category will NOT require a medical examiners certificate, but the driver is required to meet Texas medical standards.

CDL Category Table

Medical Certificate Renewal Notifications Non-Excepted Medical Status (Category 1 or Category 3)

On January 30, 2015, Texas implemented the Medical Certification Downgrade process as required by the Federal Regulation. Failure to keep a current medical variance or medical examiners certificate on file with DPS will result in the downgrade of the individual’s CDL.

Drivers certifying to a non-excepted status are required to submit a valid medical variance and or a medical examiners certificate to DPS. A 60-day and 30-day medical certification renewal notice is provided to the driver prior to the expiration date of the medical variance or medical examiners certificate on file. It’s imperative DPS receive a valid medical variance or valid medical examiners certificate; otherwise, the CDL is subject to be downgraded.        

Drivers that have certified to a non-excepted medical status may submit the valid medical variance or medical examiners certificate by fax, mail, or email only if the CDL is not downgraded. All documents submitted by email must be in PDF format.

CDL Downgraded for Medical Certification

A CDL that was downgraded to a driver license (DL) solely for failure to provide a valid medical variance or medical examiners certificate, may be upgraded back to their previous CDL status (including restrictions and endorsements) without taking CDL knowledge and skills exams provided the following:

Change Commercial Operation Status Category

Drivers who are changing their operation status category must visit the Driver License office if a restriction must be added or removed from the CDL.

Example:
If a driver self-certified to Category 3 – Non-Excepted Intrastate and now meets the qualification of Category 1 – Non-Excepted Interstate. The driver will need to visit the driver license office to remove the intrastate restriction and certify to interstate CDL qualifications. The driver will also be required to present a medical examiners certificate and pay the applicable transaction fee.

Additional information on Department of Transportation medical requirements may be found in the commercial federal regulations.