Dealing with Form Confusion: How to Guide Drivers in Training Through FMCSA Paperwork

“I have a company that asked me about how to answer the question on the Drivers information- CLP/CDL applicant/holder yes or no.  When they send over their employees they are in the process of testing/studying for their temps. To get their temps they have to have the fed med card. So, should they be answering yes? or are they really not at the CLP yet as they are still studying and have not yet taken the test at the DMV at this time?”

Commercial driving regulations can be complex, especially when it comes to the MCSA-5875 and MCSA-5876 forms required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These forms are important for ensuring driver compliance and safety, but the various checkboxes and options can be confusing for both drivers and examiners – even more so when drivers are still in the training phase.


The Tricky CLP/CDL Question

One common point of uncertainty is this question: “CLP/CDL applicant/holder – Yes or No?” It seems simple, but what if your drivers are studying for their Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) and have their DOT/FMCSA medical card, but haven’t yet taken their DMV tests? Understanding this question is key to helping your drivers fill out forms accurately.

What You Need to Know


  • CLP (Commercial Learner’s Permit): A permit that allows a driver to practice operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) under the supervision of a qualified CDL holder.
  • CDL (Commercial Driver’s License): A license that authorizes an individual to legally operate a CMV.
  • DOT/FMCSA Medical Card: Proof that a driver meets the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) physical requirements to operate a CMV.

Are your employees considered CLP/CDL applicants?

The answer depends on their exact stage in the process:

  • Just Studying: If they are only studying for the knowledge test and haven’t applied or taken any tests at the DMV, then the answer is no.
  • Applied for CLP or Scheduled the Test: If they have filled out the application for a CLP or officially scheduled their behind-the-wheel and knowledge tests at the DMV, then the answer is yes.

Reasons for Selecting “Yes”

Here’s why indicating “yes” might be the most accurate and helpful:

  • Starting the Process: Even if they haven’t yet taken the test, applying for a CLP demonstrates they are actively in the process of becoming a CLP/CDL holder.
  • Medical Requirements: Getting a DOT/FMCSA medical card is likely one of the very first steps required for obtaining a CLP. This implies that the employees will be operating a CMV.

Why it Matters

Selecting “yes” for the CLP/CDL question might influence specific sections of forms or medical examinations. It ensures the process is aligned with the correct requirements for commercial drivers.

Medical Examiners: Supporting Drivers in Training

  • Clear Communication: Explain the importance of accurately answering the CLP/CDL question and how it relates to their medical examination.
  • Referrals for Clarity: If unsure about a driver’s status, don’t hesitate to advise them to check with their potential employer or the DMV for further guidance.
  • Beyond Checkboxes: Take the opportunity to provide brief educational insights into the regulations behind the forms, promoting driver understanding of their health and safety requirements

The Takeaway

Completing the MCSA-5875 and MCSA-5876 are required for ensuring medical qualification of commercial drivers and compliance. By understanding the nuances of the CLP/CDL question and offering clear guidance to drivers in training, medical examiners contribute to a smooth process for everyone involved. This promotes safety, regulatory compliance, and supports a positive driver experience.

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