Getting your commercial drivers license requires that you pass a basic medical examination. In this article I’ll discuss CDL medical requirements and at the end of the article I’ll provide a few resources where you can find more information.
The US Department of Transportation has detail guidelines in place to make the medical exams as easy as possible for both the physician to perform, and the person being examined.
A licensed examiner is the only person qualified to perform the Department of Transportation physical medical examination. In most cases you can get started quickly and easily by calling your local physician or medical provider and simply asking them if they perform the DOT medical exam. You can also check your local yellow pages, quite often you’ll find DOT examiners there.
The physical examination required for a CDL license remains valid for 2 years, so once you’ve passed the medical tests, you won’t be required to do any others for another 24 months. After 2 years is up, you’ll need to renew the examination.
Below is an overview of the main sections covered in the CDL medical test:
1. Health History: You’ll be asked about your health history and whether or not you have any known medical problems. It’s best to be completely open and honest here, after all, these medical tests are also done in your best interests. The types of questions asked may include whether or not you’ve suffered any serious illness in the last few years, if you’ve experienced fainting or dizziness in the past few years, and if you experience impaired vision.
2. Vision: Eyesight is obviously a critical part of commercial driving. In order to pass the CDL medical exam you’ll need to show that your vision is up to scratch. This doesn’t mean you need to be able to see without glasses, but if you do use glasses or contact lenses you’ll need to demonstrate that they are suited to you.
3. Hearing: Just like with eyesight, hearing ability is an important part of safe driving. You need to be able to demonstrate that you have a good level of hearing in the hearing test. If you are hard of hearing, its fine to use hearing aids for the test – you just need to demonstrate that you can hear things going on around you.
4. Blood Pressure: Your blood pressure will be measured to ensure you’re within the safe limits. If you have a known blood pressure issue, you can explain this to your tester. High blood pressure won’t necessarily stop you from obtaining a Commercial Drivers License, it may just mean that you need to take some medication to control it.
5. Lab Tests: You’ll be required to submit a urine sample for a lab test. The lab test is included to check for other underlying health problems.
6. Physical Exam: Finally the medical examiner will take a look at your appearance. This section of the exam is to try to identify signs of any illness of problem you may have that could limit your driving ability.
In addition to the above points, your examiner may ask your questions related to drug use and will look for signs of drug use.
Learn more about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration here: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/medical/medical.htm