Details You Need To Know About How Your Diabetes Can Affect Your Commercial Driving License

Posted on: 26 June 2018

After you take the tests and complete the certification to get your commercial driving license (CDL), it is your key to driving many types of commercial vehicles and earning money for it. Diabetes is on the rise in the United States, and because of the long hours and lack of mobility within your truck while driving, it is especially high in the trucking industry. Fortunately, having diabetes does not mean you will lose your CDL and need to find a new job, as you can still do what you are good at. Here are some details and insight you need to know if you get diabetes and are employed as a truck driver with a commercial driving license.

Pack Your Medication

As you pack for each trucking trip or job, be sure to pack the medication you will need while you are away from home. This includes making sure you have your oral medication, insulin, syringes, glucose meter, and plenty of test strips.

Without these essentials you won't be able to manage your diabetes for the best glucose control. For example, on your drive you could become hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic, causing blood sugar that is too low or too high, respectively, and neither of these conditions is good. A blood sugar that is too low could cause you to lose consciousness at the wheel, and prolonged high blood sugar will cause damaging health complications.

Prevent Medical Complications

When you have diabetes as a truck driver with a CDL, it is especially important to keep it managed so you prevent the extra health complications it can cause, such as hypertension and heart disease. But diabetes can also cause conditions that directly affect your job and the ability to keep your CDL, with damage to your vision with retinopathy, which can lead to vision loss. Losing your vision to diabetes can put an immediate stop to your having a CDL.

Another health complication that will put your CDL in jeopardy is peripheral neuropathy, which causes the loss of sensation of touch in your hands and feet, which can affect your ability to drive with your hands and feet. Your doctor will monitor you closely for any of these symptoms and give them annual approval for your license with your local DMV.

Get a License Exemption

If it so happens that your type 2 diabetes worsens despite your best efforts and you need to begin to use insulin to manage it, this does not mean you have to give up your commercial driving license. In the past this has been the case, but today you can apply for a medical waiver and exemption with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and continue driving for work.

Keep in mind when you apply for an exemption, it can take up to 180 days for the process to be completed, so have a back-up plan for an income, such as another job or a savings, while this process takes place. You will need to prove to the FMCSA that your blood sugars are stable and your diabetes is not a health issue that will affect your ability to drive truck.