Health Issues that Can Prevent Trucker From Driving

Truck for a hero section

Driving a truck is not enough to get a CDL. You will need to pass a DOT physical examination. And in order to keep your license, you will need to retake the exam every two years. It is essential to make sure that the trucker doesn’t have illnesses that will negatively impact his driving performance. So what diseases or prescribed medications can put an end to a trucker’s career?

Health Conditions That Prevent Safe Truck Driving

You should not wait for the next physical examination to take care of your health. If you see symptoms of one of these conditions, see your doctor immediately. Otherwise, you risk losing not only your health but your job too.

Sleep Apnea. Truck drivers are 11x more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than other people. This is a sleep disorder in which breathing is constantly interrupted for five to ten seconds at a time. Thus, a person cannot sleep well, the brain lacks oxygen, which leads to hypertension and heart disease. It is worth seeing a doctor if you feel tired even after a long sleep, snore or choke while sleeping. The doctor will prescribe treatment for you and you can continue to drive the commercial truck. But you will have to pass a DOT physical examination every year, not every 2 years.

Heart disease. Unhealthy food and a sedentary lifestyle are detrimental to health in general, and to the heart in particular. That’s why it is important to get regular physical exams so your doctor can monitor your health. If you have a serious heart condition that can cause sudden loss of consciousness, you may lose your CDL. Because a lot of truck drivers have had fatal truck accidents while having a heart attack. 

Diabetes. For a long time, people who needed insulin were unable to drive commercial vehicles. This is due to the fact that this difficult condition of the body can lead to loss of consciousness and dizziness due to abnormal blood sugar levels. But now the FMCSA program allows diabetic drivers to work if they meet certain criteria. 

High blood pressure. If you want to work as a trucker, your blood pressure must be at or below 140/90. And you will lose your CDL if it goes above 180/110. You can get a driving permit if you are on high blood pressure medications and have normal blood pressure. And of course, you have to attend frequent checkups and DOT recertification every year.

What About Prescribed Medications?

If you are taking any medication to maintain your health, you need to bring your prescription a note from your doctor about the potential effects of the medicine to the DOT physical examination. Whether you receive a license will depend on the medical examiner’s decision as to whether your treatment could negatively affect your ability to drive safely. There are certain medications (some painkillers, anti-inflammatories, anti-seizure, and others) that can revoke your license. But when you’re done taking your medicine, you can take a follow-up exam, be re-evaluated, and return to your job as a truck driver.