What do the FMCSA regulations say about my driver who
have a current medical certificate but have developed a medical
condition that would make the operation of a commercial motor
vehicle (CMV) questionable and possibly unsafe?
FMCSA regulations prohibit
a driver from beginning or continuing to drive if their ability
and/or alertness is impaired by: fatigue, illness, or any cause
that makes it unsafe to begin (continue) to drive a commercial
Even if a driver currently
has a valid medical certificate, the driver is prohibited from
driving a CMV with any medical condition that would be
disqualifying or may interfere with the safe operation of a CMV.
Once a disqualifying medical condition is resolved, and before
resuming operation of CMV, a driver is responsible for obtaining
re-certification from a Medical Examiner. FMCSA CFR 391.45
Question: I have
sent my driver for a DOT physical and the doctor has issued a
three-month certification due to the blood pressure (hypertension)
of my driver. Can my driver continue to be qualified by seeing the
physician every three months and receiving a new medical
NO! The three-month certification for hypertension is
a one-time certification. Hypertension, as defined by the
regulations, is classified in three stages depending on the
systolic and or diastolic blood pressure readings taken of the
#1 (systolic 159-140 and or diastolic 99-90): A driver
with this condition may be certified for one year. Upon
re-certification, if the driver's blood pressure is equal to or
less than 140/90 could they again be certified for one year.
However, if the driver's blood pressure is greater than 140/90 and
less than 160/100 at the time of re-certification, the driver is
issued a one time three month certificate.
(systolic 179-160 and or diastolic 109-100): A driver with this condition
must be treated and given a one-time, three-month certificate. Once
the driver has reduced the blood pressure to 140/90 or less, a
one-year certificate is than issued and recertified annually.
#3 (systolic equal to or greater than 180 and or
diastolic equal to or greater than 110): A driver with this
condition cannot be certified until their blood pressure has been
reduced to 140/90 or less. The driver is then recertified every six
*It should be noted that
once a driver has been diagnosed with hypertension, the
re-certification for Stage 1 and Stage 2 will continue to occur
annually and the recertification for Stage 3 will occur every six
months. The regulations, as outlined in 391.43, specifically state
that if a driver has hypertension and/or is being medicated for
hypertension, he or she should be recertified more frequently.
can you do to help control hypertension?
healthy foods. Try the dietary approach to control hypertension. Eat
fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. Get
plenty of potassium. Eat less saturated fat, trans fat and total
fat. Limit the amount of sodium (salt) in your diet.
a healthy weight. If you're overweight, losing even 5 pounds can lower
your blood pressure.
physical activity. Strive for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a
Alcohol. Even if you are healthy, alcohol can raise your
blood pressure. Drink in moderation; it is suggested no more than
one drink a day for women and two a day for men.
Smoke. Tobacco injures blood vessel walls and speeds up the
process of hardening of the arteries. If you smoke, get help. Ask
your doctor to help you quit!
your stress. Reduce stress as much as possible. Practice healthy
coping techniques, such as muscle relaxation and deep breathing.
Get plenty of sleep!