CDL Downgrades. What you can do about it.

Truck Driver

Many drivers have called and coming in because they have received a downgrade letter in the mail from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  If you failed to return your self certification letter to tell the DMV the type of driving you engage in or expect to, that is usually the reason for that dreaded letter (see earlier post for information on how to self certify).   If you did fill out and return the self certification letter, not keeping a current and valid medical examiner’s certificate on file at the DMV is the other reason for a downgrade notice.  The deadline for commercial drivers in all the States to self certify was January 30, 2014 and starting March 26, 2014 the NYS DMV started issuing downgrade notices.  The self certification program is a nationwide driver safety initiative and affects drivers in all the States.  Contact your local DMV or visit their website for more information.

As per the NY State DMV website here’s what to do if you receive a downgrade letter or a NOTICE OF NON-COMPLIANCE:

If the cause is “Failed to comply with Commissioners request to submit acceptable self-certification of driving type and medical documentation “You must immediately submit a Medical Certification Requirements for Commercial Drivers form (MC-11A) and a copy of your USDOT Medical Examiners Certificate (if you choose NA or NI as your driving type).

If the cause is “Your US DOT Medical Examiners certificate has expired” You must immediately submit an updated copy of your USDOT Medical Examiners Certificate.

NYS DMV Contact Info:  Once you have all the requested documents send them to the DMV either by mail, fax, or e-mail to:

Mailing address:
The Medical Certification Unit
NYS Department of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 2601
Albany NY  12220-0601
Fax: (518) 486-4421 / (518) 486-3260

If you need to get a new self certification letter contact the DMV at 518-486-9786.  It is recommended that you return the letter with the requested documents 20 days prior to the effective date of the downgrade.  If you don’t respond to the notice your license will be downgraded to a non-CDL license as of the effective date on the notice.

What to do if  your license has been downgraded?

If your license is downgraded and you want to amend back to a CDL you must go to your local DMV directly (not to the central DMV office in Albany listed above), to complete the required documentation and to comply by either producing a valid medical examiner’s certificate or MC-11A self certification form.  The good news is you have until the remainder of the renewal period of your CDL as well as a two year grace period to be granted back your CDL without re-testing requirements.  See the NYS DMV Medical Certification FAQ’s for more information.

If you do not want to amend back to a CDL you must apply for and obtain a new non-CDL driver license.  Your current CDL will no longer be valid. Do not operate a commercial vehicle without a valid CDL or medical examiner’s certificate as they are serious offenses that can disqualify you under both federal and state law.

 Vehicle and traffic Law (VTL):

Note: You may be charged with a violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL)  if you operate a commercial motor vehicle when: not medically certified ( VTL 509 (7-a)),  not in possession of the appropriate license to operate the vehicle (VTL 509(7), or not holding the appropriate class of license to operate the vehicle VTL 509(2). Sections 509(2) and 509(7) are considered” serious” disqualifying offenses under federal and state law, when committed in a commercial motor vehicle.  A conviction of more than one “serious” offense may result in the suspension of your commercial driver license.


Source:  New York State Department of Motor Vehicle 


About Randolph Rosarion M.D.

Board Certified physician in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) Certified National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) Certified Medical Review Officer (MRO) USCIS designated Civil Surgeon Certified Examiner of Divers (Undersea & Hyperbaric Medicine Society) FAA designated Aviation Medical Examiner (AME)

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