Tennessee CDL and DOT Medical Card Requirements

Tennessee CDL Requirements

Starting on January 30, 2012, all CDL Drivers will be required to self certify to a single type of commercial operation. You are responsible to provide TDOSHS with your self-certification of operating status by January 30, 2014.

Based on that self certification, you may need to provide the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOSHS) with a current medical examiner’s certificate and show any variance you may have to obtain or keep your CDL.

Interstate Non-Excepted
You must meet the Federal DOT medical certificate requirements.

Intrastate Non-Excepted
You must meet the medical requirements for the State of Tennessee.

If you do not provide TDOSHS with your self-certification and medical certificate by January 30, 2014, TDOSHS will notify you that you are no longer medically certified to operate a CMV in non-excepted Interstate commerce. TDOSHS will then remove all your CDL privileges from your license.


Submit your Self-Certification and Medical Certificate to Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security

Submit the following two documents:

  1. SUPPLEMENTAL APPLICATION FOR COMMERCIAL DRIVER LICENSE – download the form SF-1438 here from Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
  2. Copy of your valid DOT MEDICAL CARD (the medical card, not the long form). Enlarge the copy to ensure that all information is legible.

By Mail:
Tennessee Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security
Commercial Driver License Division – Med Cert
1148 Foster Ave
Nasvhille, TN 37243

By Fax:

By Email:
If by email please send the scanned copies in a PDF.

For questions please call 615-687-2312. Please have your commercial driver license number readily available.


Keep Your Medical Card Current With Tennessee Department Of Safety

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security will be adding your medical certification status and the information on your medical examiner’s certificate to your Commercial Driver’s License System (CDLIS) record. CDL holders required to have a ”certified” medical status who fail to provide and keep up-to-date their medical examiner’s certificate with TDOSHS will become ”not-certified”.

Before your medical card expires you must have a new medical examination and obtain a new medical certificate. You are responsible for providing your valid medical certificate to TDOSHS.

If your medical card expires, TDOSHS will notify you that you are no longer medically certified to operate a CMV in non-excepted Interstate commerce. TDOSHS will then remove all your CDL privileges from your license.

You may submit your new medical certificate by mail, fax, or email, as described above.


Other Information:
Tennessee CDL Medical Self Certification Frequently Asked Questions

Tennessee official website Driver Services, Driver License 


Special Information Updates  – JANUARY 2015 –
Pertaining To ALL STATES


The FMCSA has requested that all medical examiners continue providing drivers with a paper copy of the medical certificate so that Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders can provide a copy to the State licensing agency, and the non-CDL drivers can provide the documentation to their employers and Federal and State enforcement officials.

The Agency is currently completing efforts to put into place an electronic system to enable medical examiners to transmit the medical certificate information from the National Registry system to the State licensing agencies. However, until that system is completed, medical examiners must continue to issue paper copies of the medical certificates to drivers who pass the medical exam.


Commercial Drivers – You still need to carry a paper copy of your medical card, until FMCSA announces that this is no longer necessary.

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  1. Alan says

    I haven’t been driving commercially otr since 2003. However, I kept my CDL Class A active all that time but didn’t see no need to keep my Medical Card current because I wasn’t driving for a living. When they implemented the Self Certification, I was then forced to go get a DOT physical in order to keep my CDL current. I was and am still a bit confused by all this. Needless to say, my blood pressure was alot higher than I ever anticipated and I couldn’t pass the physical to renew my Medical Card. So, it was my understanding that to keep your CDL, you either had to pass the physical if you planned to drive interstate or you could still keep your CDL by excepting yourself when you self certify, which means, or so I thought it meant, you could still keep your CDL “Active”. So, I check my CDL license status and come to find out its ” Cancelled” .So my question is, My CDL license that I have in my wallet says CDL Commercial Drivers License. It doesn’t expire till the end of 2016. I’m assuming I no longer have a CDL with no endorsements (I had EVERY endorsement except Passenger) any longer, is this correct? I thought by excepting myself from operating commercially, that it would still keep my CDL a CDL since I was no longer driving and that I couldn’t pass the Physical. Otherwise, why make it an available choice to except yourself. Why didn’t they just word it that if you couldn’t renew your Medical Card, you would no longer be able to be issued or carry a Commercial Drivers License and require you to surrender your CDL and exchange it for a regular Drivers License? Basically I’m carrying around a Drivers License that says Commercial Drivers License. Very confusing!!! Please clarify if I’m understanding this correctly. I live in Tennessee and been a CDL Class A license holder since 1991. Thanks in advance! Best Regards!

    • says

      The downgrade process differs from state to state. Some states will allow you to self-certify “excepted intrastate” as long as you are not driving, and keep your CDL; the length of time that you can do this may be limited.
      The only way to know for sure what they will allow you to do, is to contact your local drivers license department directly, and have them address your circumstances on an individual basis.

  2. Jerry Marek says

    Hello, I have a CDL, but do not drive for a living any longer. I still want to keep my CDL (ya never know). Will I need to update my medical card now, or can that be done when my license expires ?
    Thank you !

  3. herbert driver says

    when you renue you medical card, you have to fax an affidavit form. there are 4 questions on that form, which of the questions is the correct anwer if: you have a cdl class A non restriction and you can drive state to state. please help me to anwer the correct question ….. excepted interstate , non excepted interstate, is confused to me..

  4. Betty says

    I just want to know how long is a Medical Examiner’s Certificate valid for in the state of TN. 1 year or 2 years?

    • says

      All depends on how well you did on the examination. Two years is the longest you can get a card for if all is well. It can reduce from there based on findings, medications, ongoing conditions, etc. This applies to all states.

  5. H taylor says

    I have a valid medical card my employer wanted me to take a physical for my current job.my old medical card doesn’t expire until 2016 because I took another dot physical do I need to send in another self certification form or can I stick with the old medical card and certification until it expires

    • says

      @H Taylor
      Your most recent medical card was put into the FMCSA data-base, which now over-rides your earlier medical certificate. I suspect you need to send a new self certification along with a copy of your new medical card. But check with your local DLD and make sure.

    • says

      If you personally can distinguish the colors of the traffic signals, then being color blind is not a part of the DOT examination. It only becomes an issue when traffic signal colors are not easily determined, making the world around you, as a driver, unsafe.

  6. rosa driver says

    my husband didn’t renew his health card due to health problem, he had a below the knee ampution a couple of years ago and is fine now and.he wants to return to driving again. where do we start to get his health card so he can get his cdl.

    • says

      First start with the state DLD. They may have some restrictions and waiver forms for driving within the state. Once that part is done, he will then need to get his medical certificate completed. There will be a restriction and waiver needed from the FMCSA for him to drive interstate. That will require a skills performance test, which will have to be administered by a certified tester from your home state. Once all of this is done he should be able to return to driving.

      • Gina Kilby says

        I just want to encourage your husband Rosa! My husband Mike Kilby is a RBKA. He just got his SPE and medical card finished in December of 2014. We wasted 2 years dreading the process but I promise it’s easy. He is now back on the road jamming the gears with no modifications nor restrictions. He now has his life back again! Good Luck y’all can do this.

  7. Alice K Breeding says

    I drove team with my husband for years. He died because he had metastatic colon cancer. I haven’t driven since that but NEED to keep my CDL’S. At this time I am recovering from back surgery & probably will not drive unless financially it is necessary & WILL not be driving unless I am totally able to do so. I know the hazard it could be if I don’t comply with all medical requirements. I’m in limbo as to what I should do to keep my CDL’S. Please advise.

    • says

      Well you won’t pass the DOT medical examination at this time. So you need to check with your state DLD to see what they say about you maintaining your CDL while you are in recovery. Once you feel strong enough to pass the DOT examination, then take a medical release form from your doctors with you and take the DOT examination, if you are going to go back to driving.

  8. Tonry says

    Well I c the government is going after the cdl drivers now.. Put some more working americans out of work ,,Im sure they can outsource this as well for the mexicans and other countrys to come in this country and take some more of our jobs.. Ok you can have my cdl and I will apply for food stamps and welfair just like everyone else in this country is having to do..I have been an over the road diriver for 25 years and the last 5 years or so we have seen government regulation like never before.. next will b the speed limiters then the electronic logs dont forget the out of reason insurance requirement thats comming. Im sure camras in the trucks will come in there soon..next time you have a snow load on top of your van since that is a law in some states now , maybe you can find a politicians house and push it in his drive way..

  9. Michael Morris says

    I have a class B with restrictions 52 cmv Government vehicle only and I was told we didn’t have to have dot medical card.but I got a letter in the mail today that I need one so what do I do

  10. Terry Archie says

    My CDL has been downgraded and I will probably have to pay the 75$ I need to know what steps I need to take to get my CDL’s back to class A ? Can I go and take the DOT physical and fax the medical card to Nashville and get my license reinstated

    • says

      Every state is different. Some have a grace period, some will let you upgrade, some may make you retest, and all have different timeframes. You’ll need to contact TN drivers license department to find out what their requirements are.

  11. John O.Donald says

    My CL.A C.D.L. is not due to expire until 5-5-2016 however my Med-Cert expired today! My question is concerning a Med(Hydrocodone) for pain that I have been taking for several years. In past recertifications I have not been deceitful in any way shape or form as I listed the drug freely on the form with no issues on the recert. Now as of 5-1-2014 it’s a problem, I’m 60% service connected retired military veteran and 100% of my healthcare is through the V.A. Healthcare System. I tried to get recertified in late April but MD providing the recert service said that as a result of my current med stated above that I was no longer a qualified candidate to maintain a CDL in the state of Tennessee…..and that I would need a statement from my Primary Care Provider stating I was OK to operate a commercial motor vehicle while taking this drug? Can you please respond to this as to if there is an exempt form that my Dr can sign or basic protocol to navigate through this red tape. I’ve been Licensed and medically certified since 1996 and I have a CLEAN MVR.

  12. pam says

    What’s the deal with doctor prescribed medications? Something about revoking cdl for pain pills? Husband been trucker 45 years hurt in job recovered, but said need mediation probably for life. Surgery not option vs paralysis! Now were told can only work with no mediation!???
    Need real help please??

  13. William Stone says

    I have a friend that is retired with CDL but his medical card has expired, and he is scared to drive his personal vehicle, does he have to have a medical card still??

    • says

      If you are going to keep you CDL active then, in most states, you must maintain your medical card. Most states have tied the cdl and the personal driving license together. So you could downgrade the cdl to a standard license and not have to have a medical card. Or if you want to keep the cdl, then get a new medical card.

  14. James Hines says

    Have contacted a lawyer to see about filling a class action suit against the state of Tennessee. For I did as instructed by the D.M.V and still my CDL was canceled. Found out by the state of Arkansas on I-30 WB scale where I was cited for driving a commercial vehicle with out a proper or canceled license. And placed out of service under a hot load. Then when I finally got to speak to a person they proceeded to tell me that my license was expired as well. Even though I had just renewed them in August. They said they gad expired the month before I even got them

  15. Eric says

    Some help please. I recently retired after thirty (30) years of civil service, but have a desire to keep active. I want to earn my CDL with a class “P” endorsement to drive part time for a municipality for public transportation. I know that I need to take the knowledge and skills test, along with getting my DOT physical card. However, I see information relating to self registration forms, DOT specific physicians, etc. and I just need some guidance on what I need to do first, then the proper sequential steps from there on.
    I live in Tennessee.

    Thank you for any help!

    • says

      Looks like you’ve covered the basics in your research.
      Start with your local DMV for your state requirements.
      The self-certification affidavit indicates the type of commercial driving you do.
      You will need to provide a copy of your medical certificate, along with the self-certification affidavit, to your state licensing agency / DMV.
      To get your medical certificate/card, you will need to get a DOT physical exam done by a DOT certified medical examiner. All the doctors represented on this website are DOT certified doctors, aka CMEs. There are many others as well across the nation. These doctors all have to have an NRCME # to be DOT certified.

  16. Teresa says

    I just talked with the state of TN asking why the medical card I sent to them on a driver was not posted. They informed me that every medical card update must have a new self-certification with it even though one was submitted previously. A self-certification form has to be submitted every time you submit a medical card no matter if you have alreday self-certified.

    • says

      YES. Excellent point. Thank you Teresa!
      Yes, we do the same thing at our DOT doctors office here in Utah. The driver completes a new self-certification form and we fax it together with a copy of their medical card to Utah DMV for the driver. Saves the driver a trip to DMV, and DMV loves that the process is so quick and efficient.


  17. H Miller says

    The State of Tennessee is not doing a very good job getting the message out clearly. My employers have told me I have a 15 day self certification grace period to accomplish compliance each time I renew my Medical card. I went Feb 8 for physical and new card. Old card expires Feb 12. On Feb 13th Tenn. mailed me a notice that my CDL is downgraded. I had self certified on the 18th. The state takes up to 10 days to process this info. but can’t wait to scare you and threaten you to pay $75 for CDL reinstatement. I have a receipt for all this, and my MVR pulled today, (Feb) 20 is clean, however the state has not got my new Med card info updated. I would advise you stay on top of this over and over. get used to it. It will never be “their” fault. now we have to live with a new hoop to jump through or pay twice.

  18. Tim East says

    If you don’t submit by jan 30, 2014 and your license is demoted is there a way to get it back to the CDL-A without redoing CDL test.

    • says

      You should get a letter from DMV, and it will likely have a warning and grace period for you to submit this information, before your license is downgraded.
      This differs from state to state. Some states are charging an immediate reinstatement fee. Most states will reinstate your CDL without requiring a retest. Check with your DMV for Tennessee specific rules.

  19. Jerry Wyatt says

    I’m thoroughly outraged about this too my wife done all the faxing and today I got the same letter telling my CDL have been downgraded to class D and I will have to pay 75. dollars of my hard earned money and that’s not counting the money lost a work and maybe my job. Thank to all the ones who helped to put this all together. That’s one way to put the truck drivers off the road .

  20. Brian Henegar says

    Is there a website or contact to verify the self cerificaton has been processed and handled properly ? Please e-mail or call phone 423-553-1082 Brian Henegar

      • says

        Thank you so much for this information. At this stage your experience is the best way to help other drivers. Much needed across all states, and much appreciated.

        • Jerry says

          Yes I know after talking with all the people at the DMV I learned that the Medcert. office is a long way from having this together and a whole bunch of drivers are going to lose their cdl’s like me. I learn that all the things on my card wasn’t on it but nobody took the time to tell me the only thing I can tell everyone is to make sure the doc. office gets in right !!

  21. ernestine blair says

    ok im having a very serious problem with this i personally mailed my boyfriend letter and copy of his medical cert card and he received a letter stating that his cdl has been revoked and when i try calling we dont get a call back i trying calling again and the mailbox is full………i mailed these papers over a month before they stated that they were due and now i cant even get an answer or a call back this is unprofessional or a very unorganized program or processes

  22. Roger C. Brown says

    I’m thoroughly outraged to have recently received a letter informing me that my driver’s license has been cancelled. I followed all of your regulations by faxing your office a copy of my medical certification 24 days before it was due. The requirements in your letter to me were “EITHER by FAX to (615)401-7674, OR email to DI.CDL.Medcert@tn.gov(.pdf files only) OR mail to the below listed address(must be received before DECEMBER 14, 2013). Now I’m told that to reinstate my license I have to pay you $75.00 before you will act. I’ve tried calling the number you have listed in your letter (615.687-2312) to which there is no response. I’ve done everything as requested by the state of Tennessee but the state of Tennessee has SEVERELY dropped the ball and is now trying to charge me money to which is hard earned money. i feel i’m being victimized by greedy government.

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