DOT Physicals and Sleep Apnea: What Drivers Need to Know

“Staying awake means staying alive.” 

This is a slogan used for a research study on sleep apnea among commercial truck drivers, sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the American Transportation Research Institute of the American Trucking Associations (ATA). Research shows that almost one-third (28 percent) of commercial truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea. 

About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes brief interruptions of breathing during sleep that can last at least 10 seconds. It is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, heart problems, and diabetes. If left untreated, it may increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.

DOT Physicals

The FMCSA requires CMV drivers to pass the DOT physicals that evaluates general health as well as the mental and emotional fitness for the demands of professional driving and to also obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Additionally, drivers must undergo this exam at least once every two years in order to maintain their CDL. 

What drivers need to know

While FMCSA has no specific regulations on CMV drivers to complete a sleep apnea test during a DOT physical, they have prescribed that if an individual is at greater risk for the condition and may interfere with their ability to drive safely, they cannot be medically certified to operate a CMV unless treated.

However, once a driver is treated, he may be medically qualified to drive once he has proven that he is in good health to perform his duties and also provided proof of a recent medical exam. The medical examiner must qualify and determine a driver’s medical fitness for duty.

MedPhysicals Plus offers DOT Physicals for employers and CDL drivers in Alaska at our Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Wasilla locations. We specialize in providing comprehensive DOT physicals that ensure drivers meet the FMCSA regulations and guidelines. Our team of experienced medical professionals is trained to evaluate and assess commercial drivers’ physical fitness, ensuring that they are safe to operate commercial vehicles on the road. Learn more here

Contact us today to schedule your DOT physical and take the first step towards your commercial driving career.