DOT Physical & Medications

Topic 8580 | Page 1

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Bre's Comment
member avatar

I was scheduled to start CDL training today with a major carrier, however, the recruiter did not seem to have answers to lots of my questions. I have done endless hours of independent research regarding the industry, and may I add, I am a middle-age female who has spent the past year with a small army of people trying to help me get a job, and I can assure you, age discrimination is alive and thriving.

On to the DOT Physical questions, I had back surgery 10 years ago and have kept any related issues managed with exercise, and 2 medications. I, also, have allergy-induced asthma which is controlled with an inhaler and an antihistamine. Other than that I am in perfect health. The information which I read on the DOT website stated that your CDL would be denied if you are taking any type of narcotic and one of my medications is a prescribed mild narcotic, which I take, on an as needed. I live in VA, which is a state that tracks controlled medications into a 3 state area to control abuse of such drugs. Oh, and let me just add, it's also, a bit of a Nazi state, truckers beware, the police are in every little cubby hole of the interstate.

Will a prescribed medication and a 10-year old back surgery prevent you from getting your CDL? Thank you in advance for input?

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.

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).

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Will a prescribed medication and a 10-year old back surgery prevent you from getting your CDL?

Bre, the short answer is no. But you yourself have done enough research to know that your narcotic is not allowed. That is really a simple thing to get around. There are a few types of medications that are not allowed to be used by professional drivers of 40 ton vehicles out here on the public roadways travelling along the sides of minivans filled with small school children, and I assume you can understand why. If you are currently prescribed a non-allowable medication and you want to become a professional truck driver you merely need to go to your physician and ask them to change your prescription to something that will work for a commercial driver - it's that simple. Also when you go to a D.O.T. physical you need to bring your medications in their original bottles and make sure and list all the medications you are taking and the prescribing physician's name and phone number on the form that they will provide you at the beginning of the physical. Do not leave anything out - it could cause you to fail the drug test. Bre, there are a lot of truck drivers out here who have had back surgeries, and are taking prescribed medications.

Now, to my way of thinking you said some interesting things in your post that I'd like to address. You may think I'm way off base, but I've had a pretty good record in my lifetime of reading between the lines, and occasionally I've been able to help someone who needed it even when they didn't recognize the need.

First off...

I have done endless hours of independent research regarding the industry, and may I add, I am a middle-age female who has spent the past year with a small army of people trying to help me get a job, and I can assure you, age discrimination is alive and thriving.

This is such a convoluted train of thought because anyone who has done countless hours of research into the trucking industry would have certainly discovered that age discrimination is almost non-existent in this industry. There is an unusually large percentage of folks who are entering this business who are in their mid fifties. I myself started at age 53, and the day that I got hired for my first trucking job the same folks hired a man who was seventy three. Since that time I have met three drivers who are in their eighties! Age is not a limiting factor for a person who really wants to be a professional driver.

Bre, I was an employer for thirty years - I've signed a lot of paychecks, interviewed a lot of people, and hired a lot of folks. None of those good hard working folks needed to "spend a year with a small army of people to help them get a job". They all had initiative and a drive to succeed. They never blamed their lack of success on their medications, or discrimination, or the "Nazi State" they lived in. If that small army of people you refer to have not had any success with helping you get a job, then I'm inclined to think you might not really be wanting a job. Let me tell you why I say that. You claimed age discrimination was "alive and thriving" then you also said you were "scheduled to start CDL training today" What happened to that age discrimination thing that was going on? It looks like someone actually offered you a job and you didn't show up. If I'm reading your post correctly you decided not to go because "a recruiter couldn't answer all your questions." A recruiter is sort of like a sales person, their purpose is to sell the company to you. They do not know every little detail about everything at the company and the D.O.T.

If you want to be taken seriously then make sure your medication is approved for commercial driving and show up the next time someone offers you a chance to get on board. Throw your anxieties about getting a job to the wind and get serious about doing what ever it takes to get your career started. Trucking jobs are readily available to all genders and ages, but it takes some want to if you are going to land in the driver's seat.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hi Bre. I actually wrote this yesterday but didn't submit it and now I see Old School has beaten me to the punch again. I'm going to agree with everything he said and give my take on it. And this is for anyone getting started in trucking.....

Your best bet is to speak with a certified examiner for DOT physicals and ask them if your prescriptions would be acceptable for commercial driving. If not, speak to your doctor about changing to a medication that would be acceptable. Hopefully it will be easy enough to make a quick change if needed.

There are also policies, some which may be DOT policies and others which may be individual company policies, that will prevent you from driving a commercial vehicle within a certain time frame of taking any sort of narcotic. I was told one company wouldn't let you drive for 30 days after taking a narcotic. So that's something to be aware of.

I can assure you, age discrimination is alive and thriving.
let me just add, it's also, a bit of a Nazi state, truckers beware, the police are in every little cubby hole of the interstate

I'm gonna throw this out there and you do with it what you like. I can be as cynical as anyone. So I get that. But what you'll find if you try to get your career started in trucking is two big things:

1) Nothing is going to be the way you expect it to be. The training itself, the licensing procedures, recruiting, orientation, truck assignments, freight assignments, and a thousand other things are going to be so completely different than you would probably imagine that it's going to be quite baffling at times. There isn't a truck driver in America that would tell you that getting started in trucking went exactly like they expected and the way everything is done in trucking makes perfect sense. Not even close.

2) 99.9% of the people who fail in their attempt to get their trucking career underway will blame the schools and trucking companies they attempted to work with for their failures. I can't recall a single time I've ever heard anyone say, "I tried getting a career started in trucking but I had a lousy attitude and screwed it up for myself" or "I gave it my best shot but I just wasn't capable of driving a big rig safely." Nope. Never happens. It's always everyone else's fault and people can't wait to place blame anywhere and everywhere they can around the Web.

So your research will turn up endless rivers of griping and crybabying. Your experiences will turn your expectations upside down.

I'm telling you this because getting started in trucking with the attitude that everyone is out to get you will almost certainly end in bitter failure. Every time someone says or does something that's outside of your expectations it's going to throw a red flag in your head and you're going to start questioning everyone's motives:

Does this company discriminate against women?

Does this trainer think I'm too old to be a good driver?

Is this company going to fail me because they already received a kickback from the Government for attempting to train me?

Those questions and a thousand more will go through your head every time things don't seem right. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people start getting defensive and skeptical, start questioning everything, and the downward spiral begins. Before you know it their attitude is sour, the company no longer wants them around, they get sent home, and they immediately feel their cynicism was justified, never realizing they did it to themselves and have no one else to blame. They immediately hit every website that will let them post their delusional baloney and start bashing every entity they came across from day one.

Don't let that happen to you. Ease up a little bit. The world has plenty of room for improvement, no question. But getting started in something stressful and challenging like trucking with a cynical take on things is almost certainly going to end very badly.

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).

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jopa's Comment
member avatar

Hey Old School ... quit sugar coating it and say what you REALLY think ... I love how you and Brett both pick these posts apart and really get to the heart of the matter ... great advice if a person will only listen and follow it ... geez, I never realized that Nazis hang out in " every little cubby hole of the interstate" ... good to know ... I will avoid all cubby holes in the future ...

Jopa

shocked.pngwtf.gif

Interstate:

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

Kevin W.'s Comment
member avatar

I have lived in Virginia a vast majority of my life, and I was not aware of our 'Nazis hiding along the interstate' problem until today.

Ironically, so far the only discrimination I have experienced within the trucking industry has been due to the fact that I reside in Virginia. It seems that several of the Company sponsored CDL schools I researched will not hire from Virginia. Perhaps those companies knew the Old Dominion was a haven for Nazis... or maybe we have a reputation for being bad drivers. It feels wrong that I am bothered more by the latter option.

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.

Interstate:

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Bre, If you think these people are "dumping" on you, think again. Others have written words like yours here, with the attitude both Old School and Brett describe.

I've been active on these discussions for about six months and I'm beginning to recognize these symptoms in some posts.

No punches are pulled here. Every word of advice is put here to help you understand the situation. No one is blowing you off, no, the people here want you to succeed and choose trucking after understanding what you're getting into.

(Age discrimination? Not in trucking. I'm 63 & I'm just starting. In the last six months many women, from early 20's to middle age have "passed through". No one has complained of fighting the "woman in a man's world " stereotype.)

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Bre's Comment
member avatar

Thank you Old School, Brett, Jopa, Cold Wood, and Errol V for your input and advice. I, should, have stipulated in my original post, that "age discrimination is alive and thriving in everything I have interviewed for, with the exception of the trucking industry.

Thanks for the advice on the meds. I have set-up an appointment with my physician, to transition into a new medication and rescheduled the beginning of CDL school.

Although I have worked in a professional field all my life, it as simple as Brett posted on the home page "all of us have had a dream of driving big truck" at one time in our life, and soon, mine will come to fruition.

I didn't mean to offend anyone with the "Nazi" statement regarding Virginia, as I am a VA native. It is, however, one of few states, and please allow me to stipulate that I don't know the rules of all states, but, I hope to soon. On any given morning I can drive 15 miles on I-81, and pass 5 state police passing out tickets. Virginia has aerial patrol, cameras @ red lights or they are mounted to light poles, in some towns and cities cops have monitoring equipment inside their cars to read your license plate to let them know who you are. On the other hand, I can drive on I-77 in WV for 300 miles or I-64 and I-75 in KY and maybe see 1 policeman. It is a revenue-generating machine for Virginia. That is why I "jokingly" referred to Virginia as a "Nazi" state.

Please let me reiterate, excuse me if I offended anyone.

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.
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