If you have diabetes or are at risk for it and want to become a truck driver you may wonder, “Can I drive a truck if I have diabetes?” Yes, you can, but there are certain regulations that you need to know first. Let’s navigate this complicated topic together.
Can I Be A Truck Driver If I Have Diabetes?
For many years in the USA, regardless of the type of diabetes or the severity of their symptoms drivers were not allowed to operate trucks if they had diabetes and needed insulin. This law led to a loss of income for many truck drivers who became diabetic later in life.
In 2003, the FMCSA created a Diabetes Exemption program that allowed truck drivers with diabetes to get or keep their jobs but they needed to meet certain criteria. This program was unfortunately somewhat ineffective. Truckers with diabetes had to complete an application with FMCSA, and a process could take months. This process was particularly frustrating for truck drivers because they were not allowed to operate a truck while applying for the exemption that led to the loss of several months’ income. A year ago, the FMCSA has created a new and more effective system for receiving medical certifications for truck drivers with diabetes.
The New Federal Laws for Truck Drivers with Diabetes
Under the FMCSA’s new laws, now truck drivers with diabetes are not required to apply for the Diabetes Exemption program in order to operate a vehicle. Instead of this process, truckers need to visit a FMCSA-certified medical examiner. This medical examiner and the trucker’s physician will decide whether a truck driver can receive a medical certificate that allows them to operate a truck in interstate traffic for up to a year. After that year, a driver needs to renew the medical certificate to keep their CDL.
To sum up, under the new federal laws if you have diabetes and you do not need insulin, you can drive interstate trucks. If you have been diagnosed with insulin-treated diabetes, you are required to receive or renew your medical card through a FMCSA-certified medical examiner.
Health Risks for Truckers With Diabetes
Even if you are allowed to drive a truck, you are still at very high risk for diabetes. Truck drivers have a 50% higher risk for developing diabetes because they work long hours and spend most time sitting down. In addition, unhealthy food can be one of the reasons of diabetes developing.
As a difficult chronic illness, diabetes leads to additional challenges for truck drivers. Besides physical exercises and balanced meals, diabetic truck drivers have to test their blood sugar levels regularly and refill their medications before hitting the road.
It is important for diabetic truck drivers to prioritize managing their symptoms. Diabetes can lead to such health complications as peripheral neuropathy when a diabetic lost the sensation in the hands or feet. Such health condition will rule out truck drivers from receiving medical certificates.
Drivers need to manage diabetes properly it will help minimize their risk of these complications developing.
Our Tips for Truck Drivers How To Manage Diabetes Properly
Even if you’ve received the medical certification, however, being a diabetic truck driver requires extra care. Though you should always consult with your physician how to manage your diabetes as a truck driver, we offer you a few ideas how to be a successful truck driver with diabetes:
- More physical activity – Make time for quick exercises that don’t require much time or equipment, such as walking around a truck stop parking.
- Plan your meals – Try to choose a truck stop with healthier options or where you know there will be a grocery store. You can take a small cooler or fridge to stock snacks such as berries, yogurt, and hummus.
- Don’t forget about your medications – Organize your medications before a trip not to be caught off-guard in the middle of nowhere.
New Sound Truck Driving School Can Help You Drive A Truck Even With Diabetes
Can you operate a truck with diabetes? Yes, you can if you receive a medical certificate. Contact us today to see how New Sound Truck Driving School can help you learn to drive trucks. Your diabetes doesn’t mean that you can’t have a stable and exciting career on the open road.