Have diabetes and want to pursue a CDL? While you will have to take some extra steps, it is totally possible and will be worth the effort if this is the career path you are passionate about.
Some History First
Prior to 2005, people with diabetes taking insulin were not able to become truck drivers. Thanks to a 2005 transportation bill, however, things have since changed. Now a person with Type 1 Diabetes who takes insulin is able to drive in interstate commerce.
Although there are numerous requirements that the individual must meet, it is now possible for those with diabetes to become CDL drivers.
What is Necessary to Obtain a CDL if You Have Diabetes
Those with Type 2 diabetes that do not take insulin only need to follow their state guidelines related to obtaining and keeping a CDL. They will not need to file a Federal Diabetes Exemption and can still cross state lines; however, if you find out that you are going to be on insulin, you will have to file for the Federal Diabetes Exemption.
Those with Type 1 Diabetes can get a CDL but will need to meet certain medical criteria and file for the Federal Diabetes Exemption.
How to Obtain a FMCSA Diabetes Exemption
To begin, applicants for the Federal Diabetes Exemption with Type 1 diabetes will need to have been taking their insulin for at least 2 months prior to applying for the exemption. Applicants with Type 2 diabetes must have been taking their insulin for one month.
You will need to have a health evaluation performed by a physician that is listed as a “medical examiner” on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) National Registry. Other evaluations may include tests conducted by an endocrinologist, ophthalmologist, or optometrist. There is also a list of medical criteria which must be met, including:
• You must not have had had one or more hypoglycemic episodes in the past 12 months, or 2 or more occurrences in the past 5 years that resulted in:
2. Loss of Consciousness
3. Need for Assistance from another person
4. Period of Confusion
• You cannot have any signs of organ damage
For more detailed information, visit The Diabetes Council website and the FMCSA website.