Commercial Truck Driver Medical Requirements
Protecting the Safety of Others on the Road
The most important safety feature for any commercial driver is the driver themselves. Because truck drivers operate such heavy and dangerous machinery, they are required to abide by federal regulations regarding driver medical requirements; namely, they must undergo a physical examination to prove they are healthy enough to perform their job's duties. Negative consequences await trucking companies that hire unfit drivers.
FMCSA Medical Certification Process
Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truckers are required to undergo the medical certification process to ensure that they are physically qualified to meet the demands of their job. Every driver needs to take a DOT (Department of Transportation) physical exam with an examiner every 24 months.
These licensed medical examiners may include the following:
- Doctors of Medicine
- Doctors of Osteopathy
- Physician Assistants
- Advanced Practice Nurses
- Doctors of Chiropractics
In some cases, certification may be valid for less than 24 months if the examiner determines that the driver in question has a condition such as high blood pressure that needs to be monitored more closely.
Since 2012, commercial drivers have been required to provide medical certification status to state driver licensing agencies to obtain a "certified" medical status on their record. This law is only required for interstate non-excepted and intrastate non-excepted commercial drivers. Once a commercial driver's license is revoked, an employer is no longer permitted to allow this driver to operate one of the vehicles. If a driver is found with a revoked driver's license, the driver and the employer will face severe penalties, ranging from termination of job to jail time.
Do Certain Medications Disqualify a Commercial Driver?
If a CMV driver takes any drug that is either a controlled substance or a prescription drug that is being used without a proper prescription, they will be considered unqualified. Approved and non-approved medications are determined considering the possibilities of hazards behind the wheel.
According to the FMCSA, drivers can also be disqualified if they use the following the medications:
- Anti-Seizure Medication
- Drugs Identified in 21 CFR 1308.11 (391.42(b)(12))
- Habit-Forming Drugs such as Amphetamines
In some cases, there may be exceptions for drivers who have received written proof from a doctor stating that they are safe to operate commercial motor vehicle while taking their medication.
In these situations, it will be up to the examiner to determine whether or not to qualify them. Currently, drivers using marijuana cannot become certified, whether it is being used medically or recreationally.
Do you have more questions about CMV driver medical requirements? Contact Arnold & Itkin today!