CDLIS, CDL Expiration and CMV Classification Removal

Both of us received a “CDL Expiration” letter in the mail from the State of South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles about the potential for CMV classification removal as shown here (name and address blacked out):

SC DMV CDL Expiration Letter - DOT Medical Card required to keep

The CDL Expiration Letter Text

Due to changes that affect your credential Do Not ignore this Notice

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles{DMV) files indicate that you hold a South Carolina commercial driver’s license (CDL) or beginner’s permit. The state of South Carolina is implementing new federal regulations that will affect all CDL holders. DMV will be adding your medical certification status and the information on your medical examiner’s certificate to your Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) record. CDL Holders are required to:

  1. Self-Certify – You must determine what type of commerce you operate in by choosing one of the types listed below. Certify your choice with SCDMV by completing Form DL-405A Commercial Driver’s License Holders Medical Certification Requirements and submitting it to DMV. Form DL-405A can be obtained from one of our field offices or you may download it from our website Based on the self-certification, you may need to provide DMV with a current medical examiner’s certificate and show any variances (Federal Waiver, or Skills Performance Evaluation) to keep your CDL.
    1. NON-EXCEPTED INTERSTATE (NI) Operates in interstate commerce and meets the qualification requirements under 49 CFR part 391. Required to have a DOT medical card/certificate.
    2. EXCEPTED INTERSTATE (EI) Operates in interstate commerce, but engages exclusively in transportation or operations excepted under 49 CFR 390.3(f), 391.2, 391.68 or 398.3 – government vehicles.
    3. NON-EXCEPTED INTRASTATE (NA) Operates only in intrastate commerce and is subject to and meets State driver qualification requirements. 18-20 years of age and/or license with an “I” restriction.
  2. Provide DOT Medical Card – CDL holders who are subject to the DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) medical card are required to provide a copy of each new DOT medical card to the DMV prior to the expiration of your current DOT medical card. Medical certificates are usually valid for two years, while South Carolina commercial driver licenses are valid for five years.

If the above information is not received by 1/31/2014 your privileges to operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle will be removed.

Please contact the CDL Help Desk at (803) 896-2673 if you have any questions regarding this letter.


Dorothy Knight, CDL Coordinator
SC Department of Motor Vehicles

CDL Expiration Explained

In a nutshell, the CDLIS requires all holders of Commercial Drivers Licenses to provide a DOT medical card by the date specified in order to keep the ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Those who are currently driving a CMV professionally may have their companies pay for their DOT physicals.

But any person who has a CDL  — but is not currently driving professionally — has a choice:

  • Either pay money out-of-pocket to get a DOT physical — and the DOT medical card that comes with it — to maintain CDL status; or
  • Allow the CDL status to expire.

For over 20 years, Vicki paid out of pocket to undergo DOT physicals in order to maintain her CDL.

Sometime after moving into their dream come true home, she realized that she would most likely never drive professionally again. So, she made plans to voluntarily let her CDL go.

CDL Expiration References

  • LandLine Magazine covered this issue in January 2012.(1)
  • The FMCSA covers The DOT Medical Exam and CMV Certification here.
  • Information about the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners is online here.

At the time this article was originally written, a search on the FMCSA’s website for Medical Examiners Locations within 500 miles of our location yielded no results.

Even though we are well within 500 miles of Atlanta, no search results came up within those specifications.

As large as Atlanta is, there are only three examiners listed. We wonder what is going on.

truck drivers money saving tip iconMoney saving tip: Some truckers may rationale that

  • it cost a lot of money to get their Commercial Drivers Licenses;
  • just because they aren’t driving professionally right now doesn’t mean they never will again; and
  • it would be very expensive to go through the process of getting a CDL all over again.

Therefore, for folks who prefer not to experience CDL expiration, undergoing a DOT physical — in order to get a new DOT medical card — is one of those “expenses” that just has be paid every two years whether they like it or not. Please be aware of how long CDLs are valid in your home state.

The only other money saving tip we can think of would be finding a qualified medical certification facility that charges less money.

It is an excellent idea to keep track of when your DOT medical card expires and arrange to get a new one before the expiration date.

Use any of our free downloads on our site to help you accomplish that.

Return from CDLIS, CDL Expiration and CMV Classification Removal to our Trucker Services page or our Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips home page.


1. (no longer online)