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Blood Pressure & DOT Physical

Last Updated: Nov 22, 2016

What Do New 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)

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Hypertension:

Abnormally high blood pressure.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

CDLIS:

The Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) is a nationwide computer system that enables state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) to ensure that each commercial driver has only one driver’s license and one complete driver record.

A drivers file will include their driving record as well as their medical certification status.

Commercial Driver's License Information System:

The Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) is a nationwide computer system that enables state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) to ensure that each commercial driver has only one driver’s license and one complete driver record.

A drivers file will include their driving record as well as their medical certification status.

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