Risk 10, Driving A CMV Without A DOT Medical Card

One of the things that we talked about earlier was what a CMV is. In short, it’s any vehicle that is used in interstate commerce and has a GVWR or GCWR over 10K lbs.

We also know that if we are not operating in interstate commerce, then we follow that particular state’s rules.

Some states like Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and West Virginia. Follow the federal regulations for GVWR and CMVs.

While other states like Colorado say that you are not a CMV until the GVWR hits 16K, Pennsylvania states that you are not a CMV unless you are over 17K, and Connecticut doesn’t make you a CMV until going over 18k Lbs.

All the other states that I didn’t list say you are not a CMV until you cross over the 26K GVWR mark.

But if you cross state lines between Texas and NM, both of which are 26K lbs states then you have to follow federal regulations that say that a CMV is any vehicle over 10K.

So I told you all of that just so I could tell you that anytime a driver operates a CMV (not a CDL) vehicle they must have a valid DOT medical card. 

A DOT medical card is completely different from a medical marijuana card. (I seriously get that question daily.!!)


What’s the financial risk of having a driver operate a CMV without a valid medical card?


In the event of an audit, there are worse things that they could find.

The truth is that the fines start out pretty low.  Around $240 per occurrence.

Wait, what???  Per occurrence?? What the heck does that mean?

It means that every time a driver operated a CMV without a valid medical card it could cost you anywhere from $240 all the way up to $580.

Let’s say that you have 5 drivers and none of them have valid DOT Medical cards (It’s crazy I have to put DOT in front of that!). They each operate a CMV every day and go to a job site and home every day.

In an audit, they can go back a total of 3 years for driver files, but they can only look at 6 months of logbooks or time records for every driver.

What that really means is that they can look at 6 months of trips for every driver that you have.

Back to the math.

5 drivers x 2 trips a day x 5 days a week x 6 months (26 ish weeks) x $240 = a CRAP TON of $$$$$$$

Or in real numbers $312,000.00

Are you getting how these fines work yet?

It’s not just a small number.  They take that small number and then they multiply it by the number of occurrences that they can find.

It could get worse too.  Think about it, what if they dig deeper and find that each driver made an average of 5 trips to the store during the week to pick up parts. That could add an extra $300,000.00 to the fine!

See just how fast it could compound?

Alright, let’s move on to the financial risk in the event of litigation.

What do you think insurance is going to cover if you are not following the rules?

You guessed it, NOTA! They are not going to want to shell any money if you are not following the rules.

So that means that you get the opportunity to open up your checkbook and write a blank check to the people on the other side.

Do you see a pattern yet?

What about the personal risk? How does that look for you?

IF you knew that the vehicle required a medical card, but you chose to not make sure that our drivers had one. Then you accept full financial and personal responsibility for that driver.

That right there is the definition of “Gross Negligence!” knowing that it’s wrong but doing it anyway.

What that really means for you is that if there is an accident then you could get charged with the exact same charges as the driver.

If the driver gets charged with assault in the first degree, you can get that exact same charge!

Pretty darn severe if you ask me.

Let’s say that your driver had a valid medical card, but you allowed him to drive when you knew it was expired. What is the risk then?

Well, it’s exactly the same. You knew that it was expired, but you allowed them to drive.

Not much difference is there?

Financial Risk for an audit: Low Ticket but can become Extreme really fast.

Financial Risk in litigation: High to Extreme

Personal Risk: High to Extreme. 

How To Fix Risk 10, Driving A CMV Without A DOT Medical Card

This is one of the easiest risks to mitigate.

Go get your drivers who operate CMV’s a med card.

They are usually good for 2 years. So the cost is minimal to your company compared to the risk.

If you are a driver, getting a DOT med card is super easy.

They check your vision, blood pressure, and a few other things.  Nothing that you can’t handle.

I worked for one company where pretty much every driver operated a vehicle that was over 10K GVWR and crossed state lines almost every day.

They brought me on and asked, “what is the best way to mitigate the risk of not getting an audit for Driver Files?”

I reviewed every trip that their drivers made over the past 6 months.

After going through all of that, I told them that I would invest the $50 a year to get every single one of their drivers a DOT medical card because they were all CMV drivers at least once a week.

In the end, the bean counter (financial person) from the company came over to me afterward and said, “You do realize that this is going to take away tens of thousands of dollars from our profit? There is no way that we will be doing this!”

I paused for a few moments pondering my response.

I mean they just paid me a good chunk of change to come in and review everything to let them know where they could get rid of some MAJOR risk.  This was one area where a few thousand dollars every year would actually save them over 100K annually in fines, violations, and lost time.

Not to mention actually doing it right.

His was the answer I gave him, “Well, that is 100% the company’s choice what they do.  But, remember this. When one of your drivers gets into an accident and they don’t have a med card and proper driver qualification file it is going to cost you MILLIONS, not tens of thousands! Also, I have to tell you that if you recommend that the company choose not to follow the regulations then you are taking PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for each driver. That means that YOU could go to prison if they get in an accident because you made the recommendation that your company neglects the regulations. If you are willing to do that for a couple thousand $$ then please make that recommendation to the owner.”

The look on his face after that quick polite conversation was nothing but shock and frustration.

As business owners, we have to make HARD choices every day. We chose what risk we want to take on and what risk we don’t want.

The problem is that sometimes our decisions are solely based on financial costs.

In the end, the owner of that company called me and asked about the short conversation I had with his financial person.

I’m a glass door so I told him 100% what happened.

Guess what, the owner of that company chose to terminate his relationship with that financial “expert” because all he cared about was $$, not the company or the employees.

They saved quite a bit of $$ with that one decision.

Within the next year, they got all of their employees DOT Med Cards and signed up for Eclipse DOT’s services.

Later I asked the owner how much they saved with that one decision. And his exact answer was, “I can’t even tell you because not only can I sleep better at night, so can all of my managers. And you can’t put a price on sleeping better!”

Sometimes it’s not about the $$$.

It’s about doing what’s right for your people!

If you want to see exactly what it feels like to have a TRUE expert on your side then you NEED to reach out to us today Info@eclipse-dot.com.

Don’t wait another day to find out how we can help you sleep better and save $$$.

What Did We Just Do?

Can you say OVER DELIVER?

When I first started writing this it started out as a short blog!

Look at it NOW. MASSIVE VALUE!!!!!

There is so much value here, and you just grabbed it all for FREE.

If this is what we give away for FREE can you imagine what you get when you sign on with Eclipse DOT???

Can you say, OVER DELIVER?

I would like to pause here for just a moment and say thank you.

Thank you for starting your business. Thank you for taking that promotion to the position you are currently in. Thank you for taking the time to read through this e-book.

You are amazing and I hope that you know that.

Now comes the harder part, talking to others about what you just learned.

If you would like some help breaching these topics with those around you, let us know. We have experts that can help you there too.

Did I just hear you think, “WOW did they just OVER DELIVER again?????”

You bet we did!


From all of us on the Eclipse DOT team,

Stay safe and keep the rubber side down.

Dan Greer

COO Eclipse DOT




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