Medical Examination Report DL 51

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A medical professional completes the Medical Examination Report - DL 51 (PDF) to certify that a person meets the medical standards to operate a commercial motor vehicle. A medical professional is a U. S. licensed doctor of medicine (M.D.), doctor of osteopathy (D.O.), licensed physician assistant (P.A.), advanced practice nurse, or doctor of chiropractic who is clinically competent to perform the medical examination.

The Medical Examination Report - DL 51 (PDF) must be submitted to DMV with an original application for a commercial driver license or instruction permit. The form must be dated within the last two years, and submitted to DMV.

Drivers applying for, or who hold, a certificate to drive a school bus, School Pupil Activity Bus, Youth Bus, General Public Paratransit Vehicle, or Farm Labor Vehicle must have their examination performed by a Physician Assistant, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Doctor of Medicine, (MD), or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) or a Chiropractor who is listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. The Medical Examination Report and Medical Certificate must be signed by the medical examiner who performed the examination. School bus drivers 65 years of age and older must submit a new medical report to DMV every year. (VC 12517.2(a)(b)

DMV will only accept a Medical Examination Report - DL 51 (PDF) with a revision date of 1/2012 or later for medical examinations completed prior to December 31, 2013. Medical examinations completed after December 31, 2013, must be on a DL 51, revision 1/2014.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (383.71) requires commercial drivers to disclose the type of commercial operation they are engaged in:

  • Non-Excepted Interstate:  Operates or expects to operate a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce and is subject to and meets the qualification requirements under 49 CFR part 391. The license does not restrict the transport, origination, or destination of the load to be transported.
  • Non-Excepted Intrastate:  Operates in California only. You may only transport cargo that originates in and the final destination is in California. While driving commercially you may not cross state of international borders.
  • Excepted Interstate:  California does not issue a commercial driver license that is excepted from driver qualification requirements.
  • Excepted Intrastate:  California does not issue a commercial driver license that is excepted from driver qualification requirements.

Drivers renewing their medical certificate may mail their Medical Examination Report - DL 51 (PDF) to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
CDL Unit, G204
P.O. Box 944278
Sacramento, CA 94244-2780

If you are required to have a commercial driver license as part of your job, your employer shall pay the cost of the examination unless it was taken before you applied for the job (Labor Code §231).

Beginning May 21, 2014 commercial drivers in interstate commerce must use medical examiners listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (National Registry). The National Registry is a Federal program establishing requirements for healthcare professionals that perform physical qualification examinations for truck and bus drivers. This program is being developed to improve highway safety and driver health by requiring medical examiners be trained and certified so they can determine effectively whether a commercial driver’s medical fitness for duty meets federal standards. Contact information for medical examiners will be available after August 20, 2012 online at the National Registry website. The National Registry website can be found at http://nrcme.fmcsa.dot.gov.

DMV has a booklet, A Physician’s Guide for Commercial Driver License Medical Exams. This booklet contains guidelines that supplement the federal regulations. Medical Examiners may request a copy of this booklet by calling (916) 657-6550.

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