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Can certain medications disqualify a CMV driver?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) bears the responsibility of protecting Americans by making the roads safer. As part of its commitment to the public, the FMCSA requires drivers to undergo and pass medical certification once every two years. Drivers with certain health conditions such as diabetes will need more frequent exams. Testing for compliance with the FMCSA’s drug and alcohol policy is part of this exam. The medical examiner will deem drivers whose test results indicate the use of certain substances as medically unqualified to drive a commercial vehicle. There are rules about medications for CMV drivers.

Rules regarding medication.

To drive a vehicle commercially, a driver must have a valid prescription from a doctor for any medication or controlled substance he or she takes. The medical examiner will not certify the driver as qualified if he or she tests positive for any habit-forming drug such as narcotics or amphetamines. Drivers can find a complete list of drugs that would disqualify them from passing the bi-annual medical examination by reviewing Section 21 CFR 1308.11 (391.42(b)(12)) of FMCSA regulations.

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The FMCSA does allow exceptions in some cases. For example, the driver can request that his or her doctor write a note indicating that it’s safe for the patient to carry out commercial driving duties while taking the medication. Although the medical examiner can certify the driver in this situation, the FMCSA does not require this. A driver who must take anti-seizure medication to prevent seizures does not qualify to receive medical certification.

How a medical examiner determines the safety of medications.

You should disclose all medications you take to the medical examiner when you receive your bi-annual exam. This includes prescription and non-prescription medication as well as supplements. The medical examiner can review each medication at his or her discretion and/or request that your prescribing doctor write a letter on your behalf. The letter should state the name of the medication, reason your doctor prescribed it, how long he or she feels you should take it, and the doctor’s opinion regarding your ability to drive a commercial vehicle safely.

Where to find a complete list of disqualifying drugs and medications.

The Drug Enforcement Division (DEA), in cooperation with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Diversion Control Program, publishes a list of controlled substances. This list outlines several broad categories, including the following:

  • Cannabimimetic agents
  • Depressants
  • Fentanyl-related substances
  • Hallucinogenic substances
  • Opiates
  • Opiate derivatives
  • Stimulants
  • Temporary listing of substances subject to emergency hearing: This category includes several current descriptions of drugs containing specific compounds, preparations, or mixtures. It also leaves several categories open for future inclusion of new drugs.

Get started with truck insurance quotes.

You greatly decrease the likelihood of an accident while driving your commercial vehicle by only taking prescription drugs as directed and by refraining from illicit drugs entirely. It’s important to stay safe when you’re behind the wheel. You can also compare rates for several insurers by submitting a single request form. Get started with your quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.