What Do New Truck Drivers Need To Know About the DOT Physical and Blood Pressure?
Even if your BP is high, as long as it's effectively managed it won't necessarily prevent you from being a truck driver. See: Hypertension
Your blood pressure must be BELOW 140/90, with or without medication, to drive a CMV.
The Bottom Line On Blood Pressure And Truck Drivers:
Drivers with hypertension (high blood pressure) are NOT automatically disqualified from driving. Recent changes to the FMCSA blood pressure guidelines means that drivers with high BP can still be medically certified, but for a shorter time period depending on the severity of their hypertension , as long as their blood pressure is managed, with or without medication, to be at or under 140/90. See: Hypertension.
DOT Physical: High Blood Pressure And Hypertension:
PLEASE NOTE: While drivers with high blood pressure can be certified temporarily, they will then have to be certified yearly, at least, rather than every other year. Blood pressure will have to be kept under 140/90, with or without medication.
Please see Hypertension for specific BP numbers and restrictions.
The medical standard permits qualification of CMV drivers if the driver has no current diagnosis of high blood pressure likely to interfere with his/her ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. FMCSA provides guidelines to assist the Medical Examiner in determining if a person is physically qualified to operate a motor vehicle. The DOT has issued guidelines on high blood pressure/hypertension, and what steps should be taken to control the condition and determine if you will be allowed behind the wheel.
There is strong evidence that hypertension drastically increases the risk of heart disease and that effective treatment reduces cardiovascular illness and death. To be certified to drive, the driver should have ongoing hypertension management. Drivers on hypertension medication can be medically certified to drive if their medication does not produce side effects that impair their ability to drive safely. Studies have shown that proper management of blood pressure and hypertension gives you a better chance of living a longer, happier, life, with a healthy heart. We are of the opinion that this is usually a worthy goal.
Your medical exam/certification and any variances will be filed by the Medical Examiner and stored electronically in the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS). It will be electronically available, along with your driving record. Failure to update your state drivers license agency before your medical certification expires will automatically downgrade your CDL privileges.
Blood Pressure and How It's Measured:
Blood pressure is represented by two numbers:
The first number measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. (systolic pressure)
The second number measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. (diastolic pressure)