If you’re due for your DOT physical and you have a medical condition that’s being treated by a doctor, you probably have some questions when it comes to getting a medical certificate. According to the DOT, the Medical Examiner makes the final decision whether you can drive with a medical condition that’s under treatment.
The doctor who does your DOT physical will review your medical history. They’ll also do an exam to determine if you have any vision, heart, lung, back or other related problems. If you pass, you’ll get your DOT Medical Certificate good for the next two years. They may assess you as having a condition that requires monitoring. Other conditions will disqualify you, but depending on your circumstances, you could apply for an exemption, or be disqualified from driving temporarily before a re-examination.
More information needed.
There are some medical conditions and medications that Medical Examiners could want more information about when certifying you to drive. As one example, your regular doctor may have told you to quit smoking cigarettes and prescribed medication to help you quit. It’s up to the Medical Examiner to decide whether your prescribed stop smoking pills could have potential side effects that could impair your CMV driving. The Medical Examiner could use an optional or voluntary treatment form when communicating with your regular physician.
Ongoing conditions and certification.
You can still drive with many medical conditions as long as they’re being successfully managed and controlled. The Medical Examiner’s job is to determine if you’re safe to drive while you’re receiving treatment. For example, if you have high blood pressure and take medication that reduces it, you’re likely to be certified to drive as long as you’re taking your medication as prescribed and it’s effective.
Medications and driving.
When your regular physician writes a prescription for medication, they may not know all of the requirements of the DOT for CMV drivers. The FMCSA advises you to learn how to read a prescription label and look for any problems that could arise that might affect your ability to drive. They advise you to learn what could happen if you miss a pill as well as potential side effects while you’re taking the medication. If you’re taking more than one medication, you should talk with your doctor about potential interactions that could affect your driving.
Exemptions for disqualifying conditions.
If you have one of the disqualifying conditions that FMCSA has identified as disqualifying drivers, which include diabetes, vision impairment, and seizures, but you and your Medical Examiner believe you can drive safely, you can apply for a Driver Exemption Program. You can find updated information about Exemption programs on the FMCSA website. Information on the Exemption Program changes, so a policy you learned about several years ago may have changed. Check the site and work with your Medical Examiner if you have one of the conditions that could disqualify you.
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