In Massachusetts, a DOT physical must be completed by all CDL drivers that are licensed within the state. This DOT physical exam requirement ensures that CMV drivers meet the physical and mental health standards that are set and regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to familiar yourself with the exam and medical certificate requirements, including what to expect from the exam, the medical conditions that will result in a disqualification

If CDL physical requirements are not met, you may still be able to maintain your CDL if you qualify for a medical exemption. Exemptions are provided for certain medical conditions, based upon the severity and history of the condition as well as your own personal driving record. You can apply for a medical waiver through the FMCSA or through the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).

Who is required to take a DOT physical in Massachusetts?

A Massachusetts DOT exam is required of all CDL applicants and holders. Therefore, it is important to learn more about the exam, including what to expect and how to renew documentation. In order to be qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), you are required to meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration medical standards or have an interstate medical exemption or a Massachusetts medical waiver.

Who can conduct the CDL physical in Massachusetts?

A Massachusetts CDL medical exam can only be completed by a medical examiner that is licensed within the state and registered with the FMCSA National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. The National Registry only includes listings of medical examiners that have completed additional training in order to receive certification in this type of exam. Certified medical examiners can be a variety of types or medical practitioners, including physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and chiropractors.

What does the Massachusetts CDL medical exam consist of?

A Massachusetts DOT medical exam will generally consist of a vision, hearing and blood pressure test as well as a urine or blood test. The exam is designed to be an overall look at your physical and mental health in order to determine if you meet FMSCA health standards and requirements for commercial drivers. In addition to reviewing your physical and mental health, the examiner will also review your medical history and current prescription medications with you.

Learn How to Get a Commercial Driver Physical

The DOT physical exam will also include an assessment for various medical conditions, including, but not limited to:

  • Vision impairment and other conditions related to vision.
  • Hearing impairment and other conditions related to hearing.
  • Behavioral and mental health diagnoses.
  • Blood pressure that is too high or too low.
  • Diabetes and other endocrine conditions.
  • Sleep apnea.
  • A higher risk of stroke.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Neurological conditions and brain injuries.
  • Seizure disorders, including a history of epilepsy.
  • Medical conditions that are known to cause a loss of consciousness.
  • Underlying heart disease.
  • Respiratory conditions.

Your DOT medical card form can be completed by the examiner after your exam has concluded. However, it is your responsibility to bring the forms with you to your exam as not all medical offices will have these document on hand.

Massachusetts CDL Medical Disqualifications

In Massachusetts, CDL medical disqualifications can prevent you from obtaining or maintain a commercial driver’s license. A disqualification occurs whenever you do not meet FMCSA medical standards, however, there are a number of medical conditions that will automatically disqualify you.

Despite these potential disqualifications, it is also important that you ensure that you are completely honest with the examiner, even at the risk of a CDL disqualification, as lying to obtain a medical certificate is a serious offense. The most common CDL medical disqualifications include, but are not limited to:

  • Diabetes that cannot be controlled by diet and oral medication but must instead be controlled by insulin injections.
  • Certain cardiovascular conditions, such as myocardial infarction, the implantation of a pacemaker and angina pectoris.
  • Certain respiratory conditions, such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis and sleep apnea.
  • Medical conditions that can impose physical limitations or are known to cause a loss of consciousness.
  • Seizure disorders, including epilepsy.
  • Certain psychiatric disorders.
  • Failing to meet vision requirements.
  • Failing to meet hearing requirements.
  • A current diagnosis of alcoholism.
  • The use of schedule 1 drugs or other narcotics, with very few exceptions provided to prescription medications.

Massachusetts CDL Medical Card Exemptions

A CDL medical card exemption will allow you to obtain or maintain a CDL license even if you do not meet FMCSA medical requirements. You can apply for an exemption through the FMCSA or through the Massachusetts RMV, however, if you apply on a state level, you will only be permitted to operate as an intrastate driver. In both cases, you may be asked to complete additional medical testing before a decision can be made on your case.

You can apply for a CDL medical card exemption with the FMCSA for a number of conditions, including those related to vision, hearing, diabetes or a seizure disorder. If you intend to apply for a waiver through the Massachusetts RMV, it is worth knowing that waivers are only provided for medical conditions related to vision, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, loss or impairment of a limb and hearing.

Find out How to Get a CDL Physical Today

A CDL medical card exemption decision is made on a case by case basis. The department that receives your application will determine whether or not you qualify based upon your condition, the severity of the condition, history of the condition and your own personal driving record. If you apply with the FMCSA, it can take up to 180 days from the date that the FMCSA receives your completed application to make a decision on your case.

How to Find DOT Doctors in Massachusetts

If you are asking, “Where are DOT medical card locations in Massachusetts?” then it is worth knowing that you can find a complete list of certified medical examiners in your area online. The FMCSA online National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners will provide you with a complete list of the examiners in your area by zip code.

How to Submit Your CDL Medical Certificate in Massachusetts

After your DOT physical exam, you can submit your medical certificate to the Massachusetts RMV by fax or by mail. In the near future, online and in person options will be added in order to provide CDL drivers a greater level of convenience. At this time, you can fax your medical documents to 517-636-9360 or mail your medical certificate to:

Mass DOT, RMV Division Driver Licensing Division - CDL
P.O Box 55889
Boston, MA 02205

Massachusetts CDL Medical Card Renewal Requirements

There is no DOT medical card expiration grace period in Massachusetts, so it is crucial that you provide the MA RMV with a new medical certificate before your current one expires. Should your medical certificate expire before you submit new documentation, you will lose your CDL privileges. To reinstate these privileges, a medical certificate will be required and, depending on how long you went without a CDL, you may be required to complete additional knowledge or road skill testing before you can obtain a CDL again.

A CDL medical renewal must generally be completed once every one to two years. The maximum length of time that a medical certificate can remain valid is two years from the date of issuance, however, if you have any health conditions that require monitoring, the medical examiner can recommend and require you to renew your medical certificate more frequently.

Massachusetts CDL Medical Exam Fees

Your Massachusetts DOT physical may be paid for by your employer, however, if it will not be, it is important to review how these fees are determined and whether or not your health insurance policy will provide coverage. Exam fees are primarily determined by the examiner that conducts the exam as many offices and medical institutions set their own fees. However, if you do have a health insurance policy that will provide coverage, your out of pocket costs can be reduced.

Last updated on Friday, March 6 2020.