What Medical Conditions Can Prevent You From Getting A Commercial Driver’s License?


Driving commercially requires being in the best of health or at the very least, being in a state of health that is manageable and will not compromise both the driver and other road users. Studies and research have shown that there are about 37,000 fatalities and about 2.3 million injuries sustained from car accidents on US roads every year.

Per data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in the first quarter of this year (2014) alone, more than 6,000 people have died from road accidents. Those are incredibly huge numbers.

While there are many reasons for these accidents, some of these were caused by drivers who dozed off behind the wheels, suffered poor vision, and had a few medical conditions that should have kept them off the road in the first place. Please note that while we are not against professional drivers, it is important to keep our roads safe for everyone.

This is why professional drivers are often required to a commercial driving license (CDL). Moreover, to get a license, they will need to go through some tests and medical examinations. The following medical conditions are grounds for immediate disqualification or suspension of a driver’s CDL.

Type 1 Diabetes with Insulin Dependency

Drivers who have well-managed diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes usually have their applications disqualified. This is because being on the road; there’s no dietary restriction and few choices. This means that the driver is susceptible to suffering one or more of the symptoms of diabetes including hyperglycemia or ketoacidosis.

Not just that, exposure to other conditions including physical and emotional stress can take a toll on the driver’s health. Diabetes is also known to cause vascular and nerve damage, thus causing numbness or pain in the lower extremities. This is not something any driver wants to experience. Pre-diabetic drivers, on the other hand, can still have their applications approved as long as they keep the diabetes in check and take all the necessary measures to prevent it from escalating.

Epilepsy and Seizures

Epilepsy and other forms of seizure are likely to result in a loss of consciousness and uncontrolled movements. These are two things no one behind the steering should experience. Therefore, drivers with epilepsy and seizures of all kids will most likely have their applications denied.

Even when the driver’s epilepsy is well under control and he hasn’t had any incidence in years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Department of Transport, and all related institutions will deny the application for the renewal or issuance of a commercial driver’s license.

Poor Vision and Hearing

Drivers with poor vision –particularly one triggered by old age and/or diabetes- are considered high-risk individuals on the road. All drivers need to have near-perfect eyesight. Moreover, even when they do not they must have clear evidence that treatment has helped them regain near perfect vision. Poor vision results in delayed reactions behind the wheel and could cause much damage and injury.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension, high blood pressure, hypertension, stroke, arteriosclerosis and other related conditions are grounds for disqualification. These conditions are capable of incapacitating the driver, rendering him unconscious and in severe cases, cause death. If a driver were to suffer any of these behind the wheels of his rig or even medium sized or small vehicle, the damage would be catastrophic.

Severe Sleep Apnea and Narcolepsy

Drivers suffering from severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and narcolepsy whether as a result of an underlying condition or their work schedule are also considered dangerous on the roads. This is because OSA and narcolepsy typically result in delayed reaction time, dozing or sleeping behind, lowered concentration and reduced cognitive skills.

Drivers with such conditions are advised to get them treated and under control before applying for their commercial driver’s license. If you are overweight and obese, chances are that you suffer OSA. However, if you reduce your weight, change your lifestyle, and get the appropriate treatment, your license may be approved because you are not considered dangerous on the roads.

The writer, Oscar King, is himself a former trucker who has managed to keep himself from falling prey to one of the conditions above. To manage his health, he got regular physicals, and figuring it was best to get these done by somebody DOT certified, he turned to to find a physician near him. To learn more about Oscar you can visit on Google+.


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