Medical Examination Requirements for CDL Holders in California

A potential commercial driver must complete a CDL physical before the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can issue him or her a CDL license. The CDL medical exam is an important part of the commercial license application process because it confirms the physical and mental fitness of a driver. A DMV-approved medical professional must complete the CDL physical exam and submit it to the DMV before additional commercial driver testing takes place or a commercial license renews. The California DMV implements strict CDL medical requirements to ensure commercial drivers maintain their mental and physical health to operate commercial vehicles safely and responsibly. Applicants must meet the CDL physical exam requirements before they can receive a commercial license, as the state intends to protect the safety of fellow drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Potential commercial drivers should review what is covered in a CDL physical test before scheduling appointments with physicians. To find out more about the CDL medical exam requirements in California, the forms that must be submitted to the DMV and how to satisfy the strict CDL medical requirements, read through the following sections.

CDL Medical Requirements in California

An approved medical professional conducts the California commercial license medical exam to test the mental and physical health of the commercial driver’s license applicant. To satisfy the California CDL medical examination requirements, a potential commercial driver must submit a Medical Examination Report Form (MER) and a Medical Examiner’s Certificate Form (MEC) to the DMV. The potential commercial driver should submit these CDL medical exam items at the same time as the application for the CDL so the DMV can review all documents before issuing a CDL permit or license.

A CDL applicant who does not pass the CA CDL physical test may still obtain a restricted CDL license that allows the operation of specific commercial vehicles under certain restrictions. CDL applicants who cannot complete the CDL medical forms successfully cannot legally transport passengers, haul materials that require placards or engage in interstate commerce with a restricted CDL license.

Forms and Information Needed for the California CDL Physical

Before attempting to complete the MER and MEC to satisfy the California CDL medical requirements, a driver should first understand what is covered on the forms. The MER requires the potential commercial driver to complete sections that include information about his or her mental and physical health. To satisfy CDL medical test requirements successfully, a potential commercial driver must disclose his or her medications, past surgeries and medical conditions.

After performing a CDL physical exam, an approved medical professional completes the second section of the form. The medical professional will complete information on the potential driver’s medical status, including blood pressure results, vision and hearing skills. When signing the CDL medical form, the medical professional can indicate if the potential driver seems fit enough to operate a commercial vehicle successfully and safely on the road. To confirm meeting the CDL medical requirements, the potential driver submits the form to the DMV for processing.

If additional information on a medical condition or clarification about a claim made on the California CDL medical form is needed, the DMV will contact the potential commercial driver or the medical professional. A California CDL physical test may include additional information, forms and documents if the driver has medical conditions that a medical professional can explain and sign off on. For example, for drivers with health problems that medical professionals feel can be managed safely and successfully when driving, an additional CDL medical exam to test vision, blood pressure or diabetic levels may be required in some cases.

Satisfying California CDL Medical Requirements

To submit acceptable CDL medical exam forms to the DMV, the medical examination must have taken place in the past two years. If the CDL physical test was performed more than two years ago, a potential commercial driver must visit an approved medical professional again for a re-examination and the completion of new forms. A commercial license physical test and both medical forms must be completed and submitted to the DMV every two years. While the forms stay on file with the medical professional and the DMV, the examination must be repeated to renew the commercial license.

CDL drivers should have a California CDL physical completed well before the license’s expiration date. It can take time to complete the CDL medical test with an approved medical professional, submit it to the DMV and allow for processing. It is important to always have a valid CDL medical exam on file with the DMV to prevent the expiration or suspension of a commercial license. If a commercial driver fails a commercial license medical exam or does not complete the exam before license expiration, he or she may face a license suspension or revocation of full CDL driving privileges. A failure to meet California CDL medical requirements may result in the issuance of a restricted CDL license to the driver, which can affect his or her abilities to complete assigned jobs for an employer.

The cost of a CDL medical test must be covered by the potential commercial driver or his or her employer. The CDL medical examination fees charged by a medical professional will not be paid by the DMV. To find out more about how to satisfy important CDL physical exam requirements in CA, download our free informative guide.