One of the biggest barriers to a commercial driving license is the Department of Transportation's required medical exam.
Exams are only performed by a limited number of doctors -- those certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Being forced to go through an exam by a strange doctor is naturally intimidating.
Knowing what to expect and do, however, can make the whole process easier. Use these tips:
1. Go to the appointment prepared.
Don't walk into the examination with only half the information the doctor needs to complete the process. Take the following things with you:
- A list of all your medications, including the provider's name, the condition for which they are provided and the dosage
- A list of any over-the-counter supplements or medication you take
- Your glasses or contacts if you use either
- Any other adaptive devices you use, like a hearing aid
- If you have diabetes, bring your most recent test results that show your A1C levels and any log you keep of your blood sugar levels
- If you have any heart problems, including a benign murmur, bring the records from your cardiologist, including the copies of your most recent stress test and echocardiogram
- If you have sleep apnea, you need to bring a letter from your specialist that explains your condition, all of your test results from the last year and a printout of your CPAP readings (to prove that you're using it)
- If you have neurological or psychiatric problems (or a combination of the two), bring documentation from your doctors about the nature of your condition and your ability to safely operate a vehicle
Bring any records that show your reliable driving performance over the last year. That can go a long way to dispel concerns about any condition you have.
2. Remember that your blood pressure could be an issue.
Take steps to keep your blood pressure under control before the exam. If you have a history of high blood pressure, your pressure needs to be 140/90 or better to pass the exam. Try these tips:
- Reduce your caffeine intake the week of the exam
- Practice deep breathing techniques
- Stay relaxed during testing by thinking about something pleasant
These exams are the best method to keep drivers with medical issues off the road and prevent devastating truck accidents and injuries. A careless exam could put an unsafe driver behind the wheel.
Source: Fuel Loyal, "Thing you may not Know about a Truck Driver Medical Exam," accessed May 11, 2018