By Ralph Armstrong
Department of Motor Vehicle guidelines regarding CDL medical examinations appear to be on the way.
There are not too many changes in the requirements regarding overall physical requirements to operate a commercial motor vehicle. But gone are the days of going to your medical provider and getting a quick physical with certain medical condition being overlooked or not tested for. The DMV will require that these physicals are performed only by physicians who apply for and are approved by the DMV. The exams will become more thorough and DMV will be monitoring past conditions as well as current ones for inconsistencies.
There will be more strict enforcement on things such as obesity, sleep apnea, hearing and vision. There will be three different medical certificates issued by DMV.
The standard 2-year certificate will be issued to everyone who has no medical problems at all when tested. A 1-year certificate will be issued to drivers who have conditions such as High Blood Pressure within a specific range or are required to take certain medications that would change a person’s medical condition.
The third certificate is a 3-month temporary certificate. This will be given if a condition requires additional testing or inconsistencies exist on the medical forms. There are some conditions that will prohibit a driver from ever getting a medical certificate. They will never be allowed to operate a commercial vehicle. An example of such a condition is insulin-dependent diabetic.
CDL holders have always needed medical clearance to operate CMV’s. But the method for getting the clearance will be tightening up. In California this will be limited to drivers who operate a CMV with a combined GVWR of 26,001 lbs because California only recognizes those vehicles as CMV that require medical clearance.
In other states, and by Federal Motor Carrier laws, regulated vehicles that have a GVWR of 10,001 lbs require these medical certificates even though they don’t require a CDL. In those states we expect to see a much larger impact from these changes in testing.
What does this mean for IBEW 1245 members if they have to carry a CDL as condition of their job? Every employer is different in how they handle this but certainly we would expect to see some impact and will have to monitor it closely.
New requirement are set to start May of 2014.
Ralph Armstrong is assistant business manager for safety.