CDL Drivers and Prescription Medication

It’s okay for employees to take medication when properly prescribed by a licensed physician, right?  Yes.  But that doesn’t always mean they can still legally qualify to drive CMVs.  Florida employers should be aware that certain medications can disqualify a CDL driver.  And trust us on this …  the best time to find out that one of your drivers has become medically unqualified to drive is BEFORE they have an accident!

While we all know that drivers can’t take illegal or unprescribed controlled substances, navigating the implications of legitimate medical conditions and medications can be tricky.  First of all, learn which medications disqualify a CMV driver.  Any anti-seizure medication used for the prevention of seizures is disqualifying.  Methadone is also an automatic deal-breaker.

Many more prescription medications, as identified in 21 CFR 1308.11 (391.42(b)(12), or any other substance such as amphetamine, a narcotic, or any other habit-forming drug, are considered “by default” medically unqualifying.   However, if the prescribing doctor will issue a written opinion that the patient can safely conduct commercial driving while taking the medication, the Medical Examiner may (but is not compelled) to certify the driver.  The Medical Examiner is entrusted with considerable leeway in case-by-case evaluations, and other actions available to them include issuing a temporary suspension of a medical certificate, or, qualifying a driver but shortening the expiration period down from the standard 24 months in order to monitor an on-going health concern.

No matter when a medical certificate is set to expire, if any new diagnosis occurs that creates a physical or mental impairment of normal duties (whether such impairment is attributable to the disease or required medication), the driver may be considered unqualified to drive until a new examination and re-certification is completed.

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