Amputee Coalition Fact Sheet

Obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License with Limb Loss or Limb Difference

Web Development Fact Sheet

Created 09/2021

Introduction

After an amputation surgery, people are often eager to start setting goals for “getting back to normal” or “finding their new normal.” One of the most important pieces of that can be getting back to work. While your state’s department of vocational rehabilitation can offer valuable resources concerning employment and training, certain careers need specific considerations. One of those career fields includes anyone who does interstate driving or any driving that requires a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

Renewing your CDL is a different process from renewing your “every day” Class-D license. A Class-D license is issued through your home state. A CDL license is issued federally through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).1

FMCSA and CDLs

To “drive in intrastate or interstate commerce, you must have passed a medical examination within the past two years, in accordance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 49 CFR 391, Subpart E”, as defined in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Medical Examination Report.2

This examination will need to be performed by a certified medical examiner. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration certified examiners can be found through their national registry here.3

Skills Performance Review

Additionally, you will need to complete a Skills Performance Evaluation packet (found here).4 The medical evaluation portion of the skills performance evaluation packet can be performed by an orthopedic surgeon or physiatrist. The Skills Performance Evaluation (and its medical evaluation) are not required to be performed by a certified examiner. Still, if you already need to see them for the FMCSA medical examination report, it may be worthwhile to see if both exams could be completed with one visit.

Skills Performance Review Service Centers

SPE Service Centers  
Location AddressTerritory Included
Eastern Service Center 4749 Lincoln Mall Drive, Suite 300A
Matteson, IL 60443
Phone: (708) 283-3577
FAX: (708) 283-3579
CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NJ, NH, NY, PA, PR, RI, VA, VT, WV

* (SPE inquiries for Eastern states are handled by the Midwestern Service Center)
Midwestern Service Center 4749 Lincoln Mall Drive, Suite 300A
Matteson, IL 60443
Phone: (708) 283-3577
FAX: (708) 283-3579
IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MO, MN, NE, OH, WI
Southern Service Center 1800 Century Boulevard, N.E., Suite 1700
Atlanta, GA 30345-3220
Phone: (404) 327-7371
FAX: (404) 327-7359
AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, NM, OK, SC, TN, TX
Western Service Center 1800 Century Boulevard, N.E., Suite 1700
Atlanta, GA 30345-3220
Phone: (404) 327-7371
FAX: (404) 327-7359
American Samoa, AK, AZ, CA, CO, Guam, HI, ID, Mariana Islands, MT, ND, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY

* (SPE inquiries for Western states are handled by the Southern Service Center)

Resources

Amputee Coalition

Community Connections
888-267-5669, option 1
https://www.amputee-coalition.org/limb-loss-resource-center/community-connections/  

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

800-832-5660
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ 

Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies
800-526-7234
https://askjan.org/concerns/State-Vocational-Rehabilitation-Agencies.cfm  

Requesting Accommodations for Driving
https://askjan.org/articles/Accommodations-for-Driving.cfm  

References

  1. Roy, M. J., & Francis, J. L. (2011). The psychological recovery of physically wounded service members.
  2. Spiess, K. E., McLemore, A., Zinyemba, P., Ortiz, N., & Meyr, A. J. (2014). Application of the five stages of grief to diabetic limb loss and amputation. The journal of foot and ankle surgery, 53(6), 735-739.
  3. Bradway, J. K., Malone, J. M., Racy, J., Leal, J. M., & Poole, J. (1984). Psychological adaptation to amputation: an overview. Orthotics and prosthetics38(3), 46-50.
  4. Singh, R., Hunter, J., & Philip, A. (2007). The rapid resolution of depression and anxiety symptoms after lower limb amputation. Clinical rehabilitation, 21(8), 754-759.
  5. Pomares, G., Coudane, H., Dap, F., & Dautel, G. (2020). Psychological effects of traumatic upper limb amputations. Orthopaedics & Traumatology: Surgery & Research.
  6. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5®). American Psychiatric Pub.

For print requests, please contact:
Amputee Coalition
601 Pennsylvania Ave, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004
888/267-5669
amputee-coalition.org.

Authors and Contributors

The Amputee Coalition is grateful to the many organizational members and individuals that have contributed to this work. The Amputee Coalition Scientific and Medical Advisory Committee (SciMAC) conducts expert peer view for the Amputee Coalition-commissioned patient education materials. SciMAC contributes clinical and scientific expertise in developing, implementing, and evaluating the Amputee Coalition program and policy initiatives.

Suggested AMA format citation for this material:

Amputee Coalition. Obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License with Limb Loss or Limb Difference Fact Sheet. https://www.amputee-coalition.org. Published September 2021. Accessed [date].


It is not the intention of the Amputee Coalition to provide specific medical or legal advice but rather to provide consumers with information to better understand their health and healthcare issues. The Amputee Coalition does not endorse any specific treatment, technology, company, service or device. Consumers are urged to consult with their healthcare providers for specific medical advice or before making any purchasing decisions involving their care.

This project was supported, in part, by grant number 90LLRC0001-01-00, from the Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

© Amputee Coalition. Local reproduction for use by Amputee Coalition constituents is permitted as long as this copyright information is included. Organizations or individuals wishing to reprint this article in other publications, including other World Wide Web sites must contact the Amputee Coalition for permission to do so.