Medical Examination Requirements for CDL Holders in Pennsylvania

As part of federal regulation, a CDL physical in Pennsylvania is required for commercial drivers. Generally, CDL physical exam requirements include a measurement of the driver's physical fitness and mental health. While this constraint is not new, it is now directly linked to maintaining CDL licensure in Pennsylvania, as a CDL medical exam must be completely documented at least six months before the expiration of your current CDL physical card. CDL medical exam requirements have been established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for all drivers of interstate - and some intrastate - vehicles. This process involves maintaining current examination records with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). As such, there are several forms that must be completed in order to complete the process, as well as some medical exemptions. Learn more about CDL medical requirements in the sections below.

CDL Physical Examination Forms in Pennsylvania

As part of your CDL physical exam, there are two major forms that will be completed by your physician and you: the Medical Examination Report (MER) form (MCSA-5875) and the Medical Examiner's Certificate (MEC) form (MCSA-5876). These two forms are generally required for those interested in learning how to apply for CDL licenses, and must be renewed before the expiration of current CDL physical documentation. However, there is an additional form that some drivers may also need to complete: the Driver's Medication form (MCSA-5895).

As part of your PA CDL physical test, an MER form will be used to catalog your health history by inquiring about surgeries you may have had and any medication you are currently taking. This will help your physician assess your physical and mental condition to operate a commercial vehicle. More specifically, the CDL physical in Pennsylvania will test for any cerebral, cardiovascular, vital organ and mental health conditions. These include head injuries, seizures, vision and hearing loss, heart disease, pacemakers, high blood pressure, kidney problems, stomach problems, anxiousness or depression and instances of fainting. Similarly, the MER for your CDL medical exam will inquire about any chronic conditions, such as bone or weight loss, cancer and sleep disorders, along with a brief review of your hospital history, drinking habits and smoking habits.

Next, the MEC form will certify all of the information gained from your CDL physical and validate the information on the MER form. This will allow a CDL driver to renew his or her CDL physical card in Pennsylvania, given that all conditions are acceptable under federal regulation. The MEC certificate will be marked with a new expiration date that can range anywhere from three months to two years. Not only are MEC forms valid for a maximum of 24 months, but should your physician be concerned about a condition such as high blood pressure, he or she may want to assess your physical condition after a shorter period of time. This may require another CDL medical examination sooner than 24 months.

Finally, depending on the results found in your CDL medical exam as shown on the MER, a Driver's Medication form may need to be completed by your physician. This form will disclose the effects of any medication you may be taking, and could possibly restrict you from driving a commercial vehicle in Pennsylvania. Learn more about CDL medical forms by downloading our free, informative guide.

CDL Physical Exemption Forms in Pennsylvania

diabetes, impaired vision, impaired hearing or seizures. These conditions should be noted on your MER and documented, along with the submission of your other two required documents for your CDL medical test, as discussed in the previous section.

  1. Diabetes Exemption - The CDL physical test may bar some applicants with diabetes and related conditions from driving commercial vehicles due to federal regulations. However, those who are currently receiving treatment may be exempt. In order to receive this CDL medical exemption, drivers must complete the Diabetes Exemption Application, as found on the official FMCSA website. If you are already exempt for diabetes, then this condition must be evaluated both quarterly and annually by submitting the Quarterly Endocrinologist Evaluation and Annual Diabetes Assessment Package forms.

  2. Impaired Vision Exemption - After completing a CDL medical exam in Pennsylvania, drivers with impaired vision may still be eligible for exemption, and thus be able to operate commercial vehicles. This would require your physician to deem your vision as both stable and adequate to operate a large vehicle, and also identify colors such as green, red and yellow. This exemption has one required application form, and must also be renewed, along with the rest of your CDL medical requirements at least every two years.

  3. Impaired Hearing Exemption - As part of your CDL physical, your hearing will also be tested. Similar to the impaired vision exemption, exceptions for hearing problems on your CDL medical test can be made if your physician deems the condition to be stable. The physician can certify this by authorizing the release of the driver's medical information utilizing the Medical Release of Info Hearing 12-2006 form.

  4. Seizure Exemption - Pennsylvania CDL medical requirements may deem drivers who experience seizures ineligible to operate commercial vehicles. However, should the driver's physician vouch for his or her capacity to drive, an exception can be made. Specifically, this Seizure Exemption Application would disclose the driver's most recent seizure, the kinds of medication he or she is taking and the severity of seizures when they occur. This information may be released to the PennDOT office through a Medical Release of Info Seizure 12-2006 form.

Learn more about medical test information for CDL holders in our comprehensive guide.

Finding Certified Physicians for CDL Medical Exams in Pennsylvania

Only physicians that have been certified to perform CDL physicals by the Department of Transportation may conduct medical examinations for those seeking CDL endorsements and licenses in Pennsylvania. Specifically, authorized examiners should be those listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety's National Registry. This is a database of medical professionals who are certified to perform CDL medical exams, which includes doctors of medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic, as well as physician assistants and nurses. Note that your CDL physical exam is valid for up to 24 months. However, your expiration date may be sooner, depending on the physical and mental conditions that your examiner would like to review.

Download our complimentary guide to review more details about CDL physical examinations.