Commercial Driver's License Examinations
Your license to operate a commercial motor vehicle requires periodic physical examinations from a physician who meets the standards of the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
If you have previously had a commercial driver’s license examination, you’ll find the new examination a bit more comprehensive but not radically different.
Most of the time, we can generally perform your examination within a couple of days of your call. Assuming you meet the Federal guidelines, you will receive a written certificate on the day of the examination, in most cases valid for two years.
Please come for your examination several weeks before your license expires so you have time to correct high blood pressure or any health issues that may delay renewal.
Please Bring to Your Examination
- Your current commercial driver’s license or picture ID.
- Appropriate medical records if you have sleep apnea, cardiac disease, a recent back injury, any work-related injury, high blood pressure, recent major surgery or a serious medical condition.
- Laboratory forms if your company requires a urine drug test.
- Credit/debit card, check, or other means of payment. If your insurance company reimburses you for preventive examinations, we will give you a billing form so you can submit a claim for reimbursement. As of June 2014 the examination fee is a minimum of $175 if under age 30 and a maximum of $225 if over age 65. Urine drug testing, usually not required, is not included.
- Vision correctable to 20/40 in each eye. Glasses or contact lenses are permitted.
- Adequate hearing. Hearing aids are permitted.
- If you have high blood pressure, you are required to be conscientious about treatment. In the case of new onset high blood pressure, you will usually be allowed to drive while medication is begun and adjusted.
- Not using drugs that impair alertness or performance, such as alcohol, amphetamines, narcotics, or tranquilizers.
- Not subject to seizures.
- Be fit enough to install and remove tire chains, couple and uncouple the trailer, safely secure a load, etc.
- Space allows only this brief survey of the requirements. The guidelines are lengthy. As a driver gets older, the medical examiner must evaluate all aspects of the driver’s health to ensure safe operation of a commercial motor vehicle.
- Certain drivers who require insulin for treatment of diabetes may qualify to operate a commercial motor vehicle under special monitoring programs.
- Drivers with missing limbs may qualify in certain circumstances to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Special evaluation is required.
- Washington State requires all holders of a Commercial Driver’s License to meet Federal health guidelines. If you can’t meet the requirements, in some cases you may qualify for a waiver for local driving.
Hazards Associated with Commercial Motor Vehicle Operation
Dr. Rienstra (and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) understands that there are many stresses unique to commercial motor vehicle drivers. These can include
- Long and irregular work hours
- Rotating work schedules
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Fatigue associated with extended work hours without breaks
- Nutritional challenges that go with restaurant food
- Emotional stress due to extended time away from a driver’s social support system
- Physical and psychological stress from tight pickup and delivery schedules
- Adverse road, weather, and traffic conditions
- Exposure to temperature extremes, vibration, and noise
- In the case of passenger carriers, stress from passenger interactions
This is why we recommend our drivers maintain positive health habits even while away from home to prevent weight gain, deconditioning, and all the health problems that come with it. Your career as a commercial motor vehicle driver depends upon your protection of your health.
We want you to be able to continue driving and do so safely!