What Are the Medical Requirements to Get a CDL?


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A CDL, or commercial driver's license, has stricter medical requirements than a standard driver's license, such as the absence of high blood pressure or uncontrolled diabetes. Medical requirements vary by state. A CDL allows a driver to operate larger vehicles that are more difficult to control, such as tractor trailers.

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What Are the Medical Requirements to Get a CDL?
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Full Answer

In Alabama, for example, a CDL applicant must have 20/40 vision in both eyes independently and combined, as well as the ability to distinguish color. This is because CDL owners require enough visual acuity to read road signs and traffic lights. Blood pressure cannot be above 160/100, and there cannot be any recent history of epileptic seizures or other disorders that jeopardize the driver's ability to control the vehicle. Diabetes, if present, needs to be controlled with medicine or dietary restrictions. If an applicant has a history of cardiac problems, a doctor has to endorse his or her ability to drive safely, and the applicant has to take a stress test.

Before applying for a CDL, the driver has to take a physical exam at a predetermined location to qualify. This exam is repeated at regular intervals, and may be administered earlier if medical issues arise that could cause problems.

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