Brain Tumor - May Not Get My Medical Card And CDL

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Bobby M.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello All, My name is Bobby. Last year, while in training with Swift, I had to abruptly put my driving career on hold because of a Meningioma Brain Tumor. 80% of the tumor was removed and tumor was non-cancerous. After radiation therapy, which killed the remaining 20% and a year of recovery and with everything generally back to normal, I decided to try and get back into driving. I got re-hired with Swift early this month and while going through my medical physical, I was told that having a brain tumor automatically disqualifies me from obtaining a Medical Card, thus no CDL. I understand the reasons and concerns behind this issue, which I think the doc. said was law, BUT I don't understand why it would ultimately keep me from driving commercially. Couldn't the company keep me under review or something like that? I have MRI's every 6 months and currently showing no growth and I'm under medical review/watch for my brain more often then 90% of the drivers out there (my own est. :-) and of course I don't mean any disrespect, just being sarcastic). As of today I haven't heard any news to the approval or disapproval of my medical physical, but I'm curious if anyone one else has either been through or heard of this situation and if there are options for me if I were to be disqualified from driving with CDL? My concerns are:

1. Could I earn a living or make money driving without a CDL , say transporting material under 26,000 lbs. 2. Where would I go to start or find loads under 26,000 lbs? 3. Could I work for myself without a CDL and earn a decient living - at least enough to drive the country? 4. Do brokers provide non CDL loads or loads under 26,000 lbs? 5. Where do I go to get started in transporting without a CDL.

Thanks, and looking forward to hearing any and all opinions or comments.

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Wow, I'm sure glad things seemed to have worked out well for you with your health but I'm sorry about the CDL situation.

You can apply for exemptions that would entitle you to getting a CDL if approved. Honestly, I have no idea how you would go about that. BUt the Federal Government does from time to time allow people to get their CDL that might not have been able to otherwise but as you might expect it's a long shot.

As far as making a living driving without a CDL - there are jobs out there like driving cars from auctions to dealerships and driving new RV's from the factories to the dealerships, FedEx and UPS have smaller vehicles that don't require a CDL - things like that. Of course there are taxi cabs if you're within driving distance of a metropolitan area. But otherwise there isn't a whole lot out there. Even owning your own vehicle like a pickup truck and trailer to haul things with would still require a CDL.

That's about all I can think of off the top of my head.

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.
Bobby M.'s Comment
member avatar

Even owning your own vehicle like a pickup truck and trailer to haul things with would still require a CDL.

Thanks Brett, I was under the impression you didn't have to have a CDL to drive something like a Dodge 2500/3500 truck w/ lets say a goose neck flatbed trailer to haul anything as long as the weight of the load was less then 26,000 pounds.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

The rules are pretty complex and they vary a lot from state to state. Your best bet would be to find out from the state exactly what they require. It's not just the weight or size of the vehicle that determines if you need a CDL. It can also depend upon what you're hauling, whether or not you're for hire, and other factors.

Oh, I should mention that there are farm jobs that don't require a CDL - but not many. There are exceptions for special circumstances where you don't need a CDL.

If you want a driving job that doesn't require a CDL, I would say FedEx, UPS, or the Post Office might be good places to look. But it's nearly impossible to turn a profit with a pickup truck and trailer. You don't want to get into owning and operating trucks to haul freight. There's very little profit in it, if any. Heck, in today's economy if you could average a profit of $500/week you'd have every last pickup truck and trailer flooding the streets begging for freight.

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.
Bobby M.'s Comment
member avatar

The rules are pretty complex and they vary a lot from state to state. Your best bet would be to find out from the state exactly what they require. It's not just the weight or size of the vehicle that determines if you need a CDL. It can also depend upon what you're hauling, whether or not you're for hire, and other factors.

Oh, I should mention that there are farm jobs that don't require a CDL - but not many. There are exceptions for special circumstances where you don't need a CDL.

If you want a driving job that doesn't require a CDL, I would say FedEx, UPS, or the Post Office might be good places to look. But it's nearly impossible to turn a profit with a pickup truck and trailer. You don't want to get into owning and operating trucks to haul freight. There's very little profit in it, if any. Heck, in today's economy if you could average a profit of $500/week you'd have every last pickup truck and trailer flooding the streets begging for freight.

Thanks Brett, much appreciated.

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.
Dave D. (Armyman)'s Comment
member avatar

Bobby,

I would also research what the doctors told you. They might be right, but there might be limitations, such as x number of years since treatment, before you could apply. I don't know the law, myself, but I have found out that, in some cases, neither does the doctors or DOT.

Dave

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.

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Yup...I've never heard of a disqualification due to a condition of that type that was favorably treated by a doctor. Unless, of course, part of the condition resulted in seizures. So I would have to ask what law they are quoting.....because I think they are quoting their own insurance company. The insurance companies run the trucking world. They operate behind the scenes, so that no one really thinks that they have much of an impact. But any condition that might impact the insurance company will end up being a dis qualifier, and the company will tell you theres some ambiguous law that backs them up. So were I you, I would do 2 things....I would speak with my doctor, who knows your complete medical history, an ask him if, in his opinion you are capable to drive truck. Then you need to find out what law (if any) would prohibit you from driving truck, due to your past medical condition. Never, never take the word of a recruiter. research things yourself. The outcome may surprise you. Good Luck, and come back and tell us what you find out....

Bobby M.'s Comment
member avatar

Bobby,

I would also research what the doctors told you. They might be right, but there might be limitations, such as x number of years since treatment, before you could apply. I don't know the law, myself, but I have found out that, in some cases, neither does the doctors or DOT.

Dave

Thanks Dave.

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.

Bobby M.'s Comment
member avatar

Yup...I've never heard of a disqualification due to a condition of that type that was favorably treated by a doctor. Unless, of course, part of the condition resulted in seizures. So I would have to ask what law they are quoting.....because I think they are quoting their own insurance company. The insurance companies run the trucking world. They operate behind the scenes, so that no one really thinks that they have much of an impact. But any condition that might impact the insurance company will end up being a dis qualifier, and the company will tell you theres some ambiguous law that backs them up. So were I you, I would do 2 things....I would speak with my doctor, who knows your complete medical history, an ask him if, in his opinion you are capable to drive truck. Then you need to find out what law (if any) would prohibit you from driving truck, due to your past medical condition. Never, never take the word of a recruiter. research things yourself. The outcome may surprise you. Good Luck, and come back and tell us what you find out....

This is the Swift doctor telling me all this and not my recruiter. I know all about used car sales me.... uh recruiters. ;) Great advice, Thanks.. much appreciated.

Chris aka Shep's Comment
member avatar

Hello Bobby, you can check out this website to get more info. FMCSA Rules & Regulations. I searched this site thoroughly to see if my medical condition would disqualify me. I didn't see anything about brain tumors disqualifying anyone unless it would cause epilepsy episodes. I'm not sure of your whole health background but I saw that you could get exemptions by filing a waiver on certain issues but you have to certify every 3 months instead of every 2 years. I hours this helps.

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.

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.
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