What Are The Physical Qualifications For Truck Drivers And Why Are There Standards?

What Are The Physical Qualifications For Truck Drivers And Why Are There Standards?

Truck driving is an integral part of the American economy.  Goods constantly need to be transported from coast to coast to reach our grocery stores and retail outlets.  In order to be a truck driver it is required for you to obtain a CDL or commercial driving license.  To obtain this license the driver will need to undergo training for driving larger rigs and have medical examinations.  The Department of Transportation has a uniform requirement that each individual must pass to obtain the license.  In addition to passing the medical examinations, any person wishing to obtain a CDL must pass drug screens up front and randomly through the course of their employment.  The following will go into detail on the specific requirements and why they have been established.

Medical Requirements

The DOT has specific criteria that each driver must meet to even enter in to the training program to get your CDL license.  They first want to know if the person is taking any medications that could impact their driving ability.  This part can go case by case and your physician may be contacted to verify what medications you’re taking and how that may impact your ability to operate a large semi-truck.  Next in line is making sure your vitals as they are commonly referred to be within a healthy range.  This is mainly your blood pressure, and different levels will determine the length of your driving privileges under a CDL license.  For example a range of 160-179/100-109 will only earn you a 3 month temporary certificate.  Anything above 180/110 will automatically disqualify you.

Other areas of concern are around your cardiac health and illnesses such as diabetes.  While having diabetes can be ok, they will not allow you to use insulin that is injected with a syringe.  They don’t want drivers stabbing themselves with a needle while driving a huge truck down the road, or having to stop to give themselves insulin.  Trucking is a time sensitive operation and the drivers need to be reliable in their ability to get from point A to point B without having the need to stop because of medical issues.  As far as your cardiac health goes, having any heart disease whatsoever will disqualify you from obtaining a CDL.  It is a huge risk to have someone operating a large vehicle on the road that may to susceptible to a heart attack.  Other obvious dis-qualifiers would be sleep apnea, impaired vision that cannot be corrected with eye glasses or contacts, and hearing.  Driver’s senses are a big part of keeping themselves and others around them safe during their long travels across the United States.

Reasons For Having These Requirements

It is not all that easy to obtain a CDL license.  For those healthy individuals it may seem like a piece of cake.  However many of us are limited by our physical abilities and ailments that we may have.  Driving a truck is serious business and people can get hurt if the proper steps are not taken in screening who can operate these vehicles.  The average weight of a semi-truck is somewhere around 35,000 to 40,000 lbs when empty.  The stopping time for them is 40% greater than that of a standard sized car.  In addition they are very hard to maneuver through traffic and inner city roads.  In order to protect other drivers and pedestrians the DOT enforces these minimum requirements for all CDL applicants.

As stated above drivers are also subject to random drug screens to ensure they are not under the influence while on the roads.  This keeps them from taking illegal drugs as a means of passing the time on the road, but also from taking prescription drugs in a manner that would risk their own health under the stresses of this type of job.  These regulations are a good way to keep healthy drivers on the road and to limit the risk of injury to others as well.

Referenced Sites:



Facts About Trucks – Everything You Want To Know About Eighteen Wheelers

Featured images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source

This post was contributed by Nick Quinlan, professional writer and marketing consultant at www.DriverPhysicals.com.

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