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Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Medical Exam and Medical Waivers

Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Medical Exam and Medical Waivers

Medical Exam

A medical exam is required of drivers of:

1) Intrastate private motor carriers, if

  • The vehicle has a gross vehicle weight exceeding 26,001 lbs., or

  • The vehicle is towing a trailer exceeding 26,001 lbs. gross weight, and the combined weight of the vehicle and trailer exceeds 26,001 lbs. gross weight, or

  • The vehicle, regardless of weight, is placarded for hazmat;

2) Interstate private motor carriers, if

  • The motor vehicle has a gross weight of more than 10,000 lbs., or
  • The combined gross weight of vehicle and trailer exceed 10,000 lbs., or
  • The vehicle is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or
  • The vehicle, regardless of weight, is placarded for hazmat;

3) Intrastate and interstate for-hire motor carriers, if

  • The vehicle has a gross weight exceeding 10,000 lbs., or
  • The combined weight of vehicle and trailer exceeds 10,000 lbs., or
  • The vehicle is designed to transport 8 or more passengers, including the driver, or
  • The vehicle, regardless of weight, is placarded for hazmat.

A medical exam is not required under United State Department of Transportation (USDOT) or PUCO rules for government employees.

The criteria for "passing" the physical examination are contained in Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 391.43.

Any physician familiar with commercial vehicles and knowledgeable of federal medical guidelines may complete the physical (although employers may require that a specific physician be used).

Additional guidance for physicians is available on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Web site.

Medical Waivers

For driving only within Ohio (intrastate),  medical "waivers" (the official name is "provisional medical certification") are allowed by PUCO rules in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) rule 4901:2-5-04 (C).  If a driver is unable to pass the regular "USDOT physical exam" found in Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 391.41, a waiver may be permitted for limited driving.

PUCO rules allow waivers for those drivers who have failed the USDOT physical and who:

1) Do not use drugs or have clinical diagnosis of alcoholism as described in the USDOT physical exam;

2) Were, as of December 7, 1988, employed or self-employed in occupations requiring the operation of commercial motor vehicles;

3) Drive commercially only within Ohio;

4) Do not haul hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding of the vehicle;

5) Do no transport passengers for hire; and

6) Do not operate a vehicle designed to carry 16 or more passengers, including the driver.

Medical waiver restrictions are explained thoroughly in rule OAC 4901:2-5-04 (C) (3) and (C) (8).

If a driver cannot meet all of these specifications, the PUCO will not allow the waiver.

Medical Waiver Procedure

If a driver meets the criteria listed above, the employer and a  physician must concur to grant a waiver. Participating in the waiver process is optional on the part of the employer and physician; both must agree that the driver is qualified to drive.

You may request a medical waiver packet from PUCO directly, or by clicking one of the following links.

1) A copy of rule 4901: 2-5-04 (C) of the Ohio Administrative Code,

2) Driver and Physician Instructions,

3) Certification of Driver Employment Form, and

4) Medical Examiner's Provisional Certificate.

(The packet described above can be copied if extras are needed.)

This waiver only applies to intrastate drivers. A commercial driver who plans to drive outside Ohio ("interstate") and who cannot meet the regular medical requirements in 49 CRR 391.41 should contact the FMCSA at (614) 280-5657 to determine whether any medical waiver is possible.

Note regarding commercial driver licenses: The medical examination and waiver processes are not part of the commercial driver license (CDL) regulations. Because these two programs (medical certification and CDL) are currently established in separate federal and state programs, some individuals may be required to have a medical examination but not a CDL and vice-versa, depending on type of vehicle driven etc. There are basic medical requirements for a CDL, just as there are for a private auto driver license. Do not confuse these with the special medical examination and certification which may be required under 49 CFR 391.41.