Drivers meet Commercial Driver's License medical qualifications by passing a Department of Transportation medical exam performed by a Certified Medical Examiner. The doctor performing the exam must be listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
Once a driver passes a Department of Transportation medical examination, the physician usually issues a Department of Transportation medical card that is valid for 24 months. However, if the driver has a medical condition that needs monitoring, such as high blood pressure, the card may be valid for less than 24 months. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a special program that exempts qualifying drivers with diabetes or vision impairment from normal medical standards if drivers can prove ongoing records of safety. Additionally, the Skill Performance Evaluation Certification Program allows drivers with impaired or missing limbs wearing fitted prosthetic devices to demonstrate road safety and receive a certificate that allows them to perform interstate driving.
In addition to Department of Transportation medical exams, all full- and part-time commercial drivers must undergo drug and alcohol testing before employment, after an accident and at random throughout the year. Besides alcohol, tests check for the use of cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, opiates and PCP. Drivers who fail a drug or alcohol test or who refuse testing are removed from driving responsibilities until they undergo a return-to-duty process with a substance abuse professional.