DOT Physical And Psychiatric Drugs

Topic 28804 | Page 1

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David O.'s Comment
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Does taking psychiatric drugs cause you to fail the physical? If so, is there anything to be done about it?

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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Does taking psychiatric drugs cause you to fail the physical? If so, is there anything to be done about it?

Even if you pass the physical... Your company may reject the medication. Every company will give you their own physical. There are quite a few meds on Primes banned list. They sometimes suggest a list of acceptable meds then give you 30 days to comply and come back.

Dan F.'s Comment
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DOT has a list of acceptable medication that will not prevent you from applying to a company. They also have a list that doesn’t immediately prevent you but requires elaboration usually in the form of a doctor sign off.

Companies want to hire drivers regardless of their histories because they need them but often times the company has a policy that prevents it or the insurance company that they use tells them they are not able to Insure that driver. So I would look into your specific medication first to make sure it doesn’t prevent you from applying, once you have that knowledge then go to the company that you were thinking about and find out if they have policy issue. If they don’t have a policy issue then the next step would be for them to submit your file to the insurance company

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.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

David O.'s Comment
member avatar

Does anyone know where to find a list os medications which cause issue for the DOT physical?

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

From the F.A.Q. on Gov't site Transportation.gov

Is there a list of prohibited drugs for being medically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)? Section 391.41(b)(12)(i)&(ii) state:

(12)(i) Does not use any drug or substance identified in 21 CFR 1308.11 Schedule I, an amphetamine, a narcotic, or other habit-forming drug.

(ii) Does not use any non-Schedule I drug or substance that is identified in the other Schedules in 21 part 1308 except when the use is prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner, as defined in § 382.107, who is familiar with the driver's medical history and has advised the driver that the substance will not adversely affect the driver's ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Medical Examiners are required to give careful consideration to the effects of medications on a driver’s ability to operate a CMV safely before rendering the driver qualified.

For information on specific drugs and CMV driver qualification, please visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Medical Program website.

Questions about the effects of many drugs and driver qualification are answered in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section.

You may also e-mail your questions to the Physical Qualifications Division at fmcsamedical@dot.gov or call and ask for a Specialist on (202) 366-4001.

Commercial Motor Vehicle:

A commercial motor vehicle is any vehicle used in commerce to transport passengers or property with either:

  • A gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
  • A gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more which includes a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds
  • 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

    Dm:

    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.

    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.
David O.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you very much.

Alfred L.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi, this is my first post to the forum, but I have a relevant response and follow-up question, so I thought I'd post here.

I took a DOT physical earlier this year, and I was immediately disqualified because of the specific prescription psychiatric meds I am taking for anxiety. Not all psychiatric drugs are disqualifiers, but apparently some are.

Back story: I got my Class-A CDL in 2017 and then got hired at a very good trucking company to do solo, over-the-road driving. I also got Hazmat and Tankers endorsements. I loved the job, and now I severely miss it. But I had struggled with anxiety and OCD for years, and I was consulting with therapists whom I thought could help me, but still eventually, my self-doubt and phobias over the possibility of making mistakes led to nervous breakdowns that only got worse over time. After driving for a year and a half, I eventually had a nervous breakdown so bad that I could barely even drive the truck at a decent speed, so I left. And my doctors suggested seeing a psychiatrist, who prescribed the medications that now disqualify me, but they do prevent the types of nervous breakdowns I was having and that I otherwise would likely have in day-to-day life.

I took a low-paying internship doing data analysis, but I'm struggling to figure out what I can do full-time, after this internship ends. They may hire me for a longer period, but there's no guarantee. I would eventually love to go back to doing something OTHER than office/computer/data work, and something where I can be more physically active. Now, the doctor who disqualified me from passing the DOT physical said I might not even be able to get qualified to drive a forklift. Is that true?

Can anyone suggest what kind of work I might be best suited to look for? My college degrees don't qualify me for anything that truly interests me, and I got them because I felt pressured. I have a huge interest in traffic engineering, but it seems like everyone who's hiring requires a civil engineering degree, which I don't have. Any time I've applied for any kind of construction-related job, I've gotten immediate rejections, but maybe it was just due to the bad job market and my not having any construction experience.

My CDL is now in "Excepted Interstate" status, which allows me to drive my own car, and I'm not sure what else. Are there any jobs it can help me qualify for, when I can't seem to pass the DOT physical?

Thanks.

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Alfred are you able to get that medication switched to one that does the same thing but without certain side affects? That's likely why he disqualified you.

I'm not sure your medication would disqualify you to operate a forklift. From my experience at several warehouses there was never anything more than a simple video and test followed by someone taking you out to do some little obstacle course with a couple turns to grab a pallet. If your medication causes drowsiness, suicidal thoughts or has a warning to not operate heavy equipment that is likely what he's referring to.

If you enjoyed backing trailers maybe you should get on as a shag/yard dog somewhere. As long as you keep it on private property you're not required to have a CDL. We have a shag driver where I work that had a stroke and can't get a medical card. Now he just moves trailers around all day.

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.
Alfred L.'s Comment
member avatar

Rob, thanks for the tips! Two of my anxiety meds have the "may cause drowsiness" warning, but it's possible I can get them switched. I've been through a lot of medications earlier in life that made things worse for me, and it seems hard to find ones that actually work. Of course, the anxiety itself and related insomnia that I have without the meds cause drowsiness, so it seems like a catch-22 unless I can find better meds. I'll ask my psychiatrist at my next appointment. At least I have some time, and it's good to know I have some options available.

Stoug Danhope's Comment
member avatar

I've been on a substantial amount of psychiatric drugs and did my physical through the same office that prescribed 90% of them. When I did my physical I went cold turkey on all of them which I really advocate against because for one withdrawals are awful and two it gets you listed as "non-compliant" and did the physical and drug screen clean. Then I had the doc prescribe the meds again after stating I now had a med card/cdl. A lot of doctors will sign off without really knowing what liability they are taking with that. At least that is my experience. Of course you're very clearly setting yourself up for a disaster civilly and possibly criminally. Some companies as stated will bar certain things. I'll go ahead and say, of the psychiatric drugs I've used, anti psychotics all make it impossible for me to even work a job like crunching numbers or bussing tables. Anti depressants typically blur my vision and make me somewhat antsy. Mood stabilizers are absolutely awful. I can't function in day to day life on them, let alone a job. Stimulants give me really bad tardive dyskinesia which require benzos to make me sleep which are almost universally banned by companies and rightfully so. Stims also make me hate driving because I can't sit still on them and want to pace around.

I don't take anything now and just deal with the mental challenges and more or less tough it out which is unhealthy as all hell but otr is extremely unhealthy in many regards anyways. If you have to be on psych drugs I'd look into something else as a career or go to driving in a govt job like public works, solid waste, or dot state projects. Pay sucks but benefits are good, great home time, and you can drive on insulin, bad heart, etc. I might end up back in the govt jobs because I'm nudging the cut off to high blood pressure and I'm pre diabetic. I might have another dot card renewal or 2 in me but I won't be driving non excempted interstate in 5-10 years.

If I may ask, what have you been formally diagnosed with and what are you prescribed? Also of major importance is if you've been baker acted before. If you've been held on 72 hour involuntary, I'd be much more concerned about getting a cdl. I've never been through the 5150 process but have been in in patient psych wards before, I've been diagnosed as schizophrenic, schizoaffective, major depressive, and also bipolar by different docs. Some also think I am autistic but they never tested me for it.

Even with all that, I breezed through the med card deal since I wasn't and still am not on meds. Prime scanned a copy of my med card with the disclosures on it and probably didn't even give it a second glance. They're really more concerned with medications than anything else and if you have a med card with no prescriptions, you're usually golden.

Be forewarned though, trucking isn't easy for most people. Compounding that with mental illness and especially anxiety is a bad recipe. Most companies team you for a while and if you're on like me, lack of sleep really exacerbates issues. Luckily I can sleep in a moving truck so it doesn't really bother me but again, you're going to need super human resilience to make it out here with anxiety and mental health problems unless you get lucky and can mesh well with the job. On the personal level for me, I'm stuck with my own thoughts endlessly which isn't really a healthy thing. I'm still in team training but even then, my thoughts are racing the whole time I'm alone and I'm sure with anxiety that isn't a good thing. Just some insights from someone out here with psychiatric illnesses. I'd suggest looking into something different first but if not, good luck. You'll need all of the luck you can get.

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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