Sleep Studies For CDL Medical Exams

A bright yellow sign cautions drivers to exit if feeling drowsy on a stretch of highway in Nevada. The landscape is desolate and barren with a chain of mountains visible in the distance. The sun is low on the horizon hidden behind clouds.

What is a CDL Medical Exam?

A Commercial Driver’s License medical exam is performed by a qualified medical examiner for commercial drivers who are renewing a Commercial Driver’s License or applying for a Commercial Driver’s License for the first time. Such a physical is performed in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation standards and may be required every 24 months.

Why Is It Needed?

A CDL medical exam is performed in order to verify a commercial driver is sufficiently healthy to maintain a CDL. The safety standards that apply to a CDL are very exacting, and drivers may need to manage their health care as they age to maintain a suitable level of wellness.

These exams are also referred to as the DOT medical exam.

When certifying or recertifying to drive commercial motor vehicles, valid DOT medical exam results must be on file. Exam results are considered valid for up to 24 months from the date of completion. An exam certificate can also be issued for a shorter period of time.

Short-term exam certifications are issued occasionally when monitoring a chronic condition. For example, a driver who needs periodic observation to manage high blood pressure might receive such a certificate. They could continue to do so while the condition remains active.

Who May Need a CDL Medical Exam?

Any driver who wishes to actively operate a commercial vehicle, such as a cargo van, flatbed truck, agricultural truck, or another fleet vehicle, will need to comply with commercial driver’s license standards set out by the Department of Transportation.

Drivers who accidentally allow their medical examiner’s certificate to expire may be vulnerable to sanctions, including fines and suspension of CDL privileges. Although it may be possible to receive a temporary extension or waiver, it is always best to get an examination promptly.

What Does a CDL Medical Exam Involve?

A DOT physical exam consists of a routine physical as well as drug and alcohol testing. You will be asked a variety of questions about your medical history, including details of any past surgeries and current medications. You will also need to update information on any recent conditions.

After the medical history, the examiner will test vital signs including blood pressure, hearing in both ears, and visual acuity. A brief examination of the body and its systems also takes place. You may, for example, be asked to pace the room so your gait can be examined.

Why a Sleep Study Can Be Helpful for Your CDL Exam

Since 2013, more and more DOT medical examiners have made screening for sleep apnea a high priority. Sleep apnea and other sleep disturbances can cause a commercial driver’s performance to be compromised, particularly if he or she is driving a long or overnight shift.

If you display a factor considered to make obstructive sleep apnea more likely, such as a high Body Mass Index (BMI), your medical examiner may perform some additional tests to evaluate the likelihood of this condition. At this time, sleep apnea is the main sleep disturbance tested for.

Some medical examiners may feel that they can make a determination on sleep apnea status with very simple tests. For example, they might measure your neck circumference as a way of seeing whether tissue might weigh down on your airway during sleep, reducing sleep quality.

To get an accurate and thorough diagnosis of any possible sleep problems, a sleep study will help. You will have fewer worries of an inaccurate diagnosis by a DOT medical examiner. Plus, you will be able to address any sleep disturbances and get appropriate treatment proactively.

To find out more, contact Eos Sleep Diagnostics today.

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