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Why do so many drivers receive short-term DOT medical certifications?

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Why do so many drivers receive short-term DOT medical certifications?

Recently I spoke at a conference for the Convenient Care Association (CCA), a network of health clinics located in large box grocery stores and pharmacies.

I was invited to speak about driver health — specifically, the current driver health statistics leading to a high percentage of short-term cards that are being issued to drivers.

According to statistics from the FMCSA, 55% of all DOT medical cards issued are for one year or less, and 300,000 drivers are disqualified each year due to health reasons. Every day, clinic providers issue short-term cards because drivers’ declining health fails to meet DOT standards.

I realize this is not the news drivers want to hear, but keep in mind that these providers have guidelines and protocols they must follow. Providers hate delivering news of a short-term card as much as a driver hates to hear it.

In fact, when a driver displays elevated blood pressure, many providers will allow the driver to rest a while and then re-test. This is because some patients experience “white-coat syndrome” — anxiety about the checkup and its results can cause blood pressure to rise. Allowing the driver to rest and then re-test gives them a chance to relax and register within acceptable levels.

A research project by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that over two-thirds of respondents were obese (69%), as defined by a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, and 17% were morbidly obese (BMI of 40 or higher). In comparison, only one-third of U.S. working adults were reported to be obese, and 7% morbidly obese.

Obesity increases the chance for type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, cancer, joint and back pain, and stroke. These health conditions can disqualify a driver from receiving their commercial driver’s license, essentially taking away their livelihood.

The top three reasons for short-term cards are 1) Hypertension; 2) Elevated glucose readings; and 3) Sleep apnea.

Truck driving is a very difficult profession. Think about it — you’re sitting long hours, have little opportunity to exercise and often engage in poor nutrition choices. In general, there’s a woeful lack of education on how to live healthier on the road.

Luckily, there are many health and wellness companies that offer solutions for professional drivers.

You’ve heard me say it before: Your body is just like tour truck. You need to regularly take a peek under personal hood and see what you can do to run safe and healthy.

Feel free to reach out to me to get references for help.

Bob Perry

Bob Perry has spent nearly the past four decades on a mission to educate professional drivers and share life-changing products and services to help them live healthier lives while on the road. Recognized throughout the transportation industry, from bus drivers to over-the-road professional drivers, Bob Perry has played an important role in creating a paradigm shift helping regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers understand the current health challenges of the professional driver. He has participated as a wellness advocate in several roundtable discussions, large audience groups and small forums as well as going “curbside” through a national truck stop tour.

Bob’s articles have been featured in The Trucker and a number of other national transportation industry publications and is the host of a weekly wellness call produced by Rolling Strong. Bob has been a regular guest on RedEye Radio and Land-Line Radio, and is often an invited guest on Sirius radio shows. He has been featured in the New York Times, Men’s Health Magazine, Drug Store News, American Road Magazine, WSJ, NPR, ABC National Radio, as well as hundreds of daily newspapers. He has appeared on television news shows across the nation, including a featured TV segment on ABC NightLine News.

Avatar for Bob Perry
Bob Perry has spent nearly the past four decades on a mission to educate professional drivers and share life-changing products and services to help them live healthier lives while on the road. Recognized throughout the transportation industry, from bus drivers to over-the-road professional drivers, Bob Perry has played an important role in creating a paradigm shift helping regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers understand the current health challenges of the professional driver. He has participated as a wellness advocate in several roundtable discussions, large audience groups and small forums as well as going "curbside" through a national truck stop tour. Bob’s articles have been featured in The Trucker and a number of other national transportation industry publications and is the host of a weekly wellness call produced by Rolling Strong. Bob has been a regular guest on RedEye Radio and Land-Line Radio, and is often an invited guest on Sirius radio shows. He has been featured in the New York Times, Men's Health Magazine, Drug Store News, American Road Magazine, WSJ, NPR, ABC National Radio, as well as hundreds of daily newspapers. He has appeared on television news shows across the nation, including a featured TV segment on ABC NightLine News.
For over 30 years, the objective of The Trucker editorial team has been to produce content focused on truck drivers that is relevant, objective and engaging. After reading this article, feel free to leave a comment about this article or the topics covered in this article for the author or the other readers to enjoy. Let them know what you think! We always enjoy hearing from our readers.

Why do so many drivers receive short-term DOT medical certifications?

Comment

Very interesting story I try to keep fit while on the road by doing my push ups, eating healthy by preparing my food at home and I hope you produce more educational material for drivers.

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