Trucking Accidents

Medical conditions that disqualify people from being truck drivers

What disqualifies you from being a truck driver? Several medical conditions can play a crucial role in determining a person’s eligibility to drive an 80,000-pound commercial vehicle. After all, if a driver with a severe medical problem causes an accident, the company that hired them could share liability.

Why certain conditions disqualify you from being a truck driver

Certain medical conditions pose a risk to the driver’s own health and safety, as well as the safety of other drivers. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) mandates physical examinations to ensure that truck drivers are in good health and fit to drive safely.

These exams also include drug and alcohol testing and medical certifications. Failure to meet these standards can result in disqualification from driving.

What medical conditions disqualify you from being a truck driver?

Heart conditions

Current clinical diagnoses of heart attacks, chest pain or discomfort due to heart disease, congestive heart failure, and risk of forming blood clots are all heart conditions that disqualify a person from becoming a truck driver.


Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that can cause seizures, which can cause a person to lose control of their vehicle, resulting in a serious accident.

However, if a person with epilepsy has been seizure-free for a specified period, usually at least five years, they may be eligible for an exemption.


Vertigo causes dizziness and a spinning sensation, leading to a loss of control while driving. Some forms of vertigo are treatable, so if a person’s vertigo is under control and does not affect their ability to drive, they may be eligible if they can show they’ve been symptom-free for two months.

Hearing or vision loss

Hearing or vision loss can also disqualify a person from being a truck driver. Good vision is essential for safe driving, while hearing is crucial for detecting warning signals such as honking horns or emergency sirens.

A person with hearing or vision loss may be eligible for an exemption if they can meet specific criteria, such as being able to see and hear adequately with corrective devices.


Diabetes, a chronic condition that affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, can also disqualify a truck driver from driving. Drivers with diabetes may be at risk for sudden drops in blood sugar, which can cause confusion, dizziness, and even loss of consciousness.

Drug and alcohol use

Substance use can impair judgment, coordination, and reaction time, making it more difficult to respond to changing road conditions or hazards.

Additionally, drug and alcohol use may be a violation of federal regulations and can result in legal consequences such as fines or license suspension.

Does sleep apnea disqualify you for truck driver jobs?

While FMCSA regulations do not specifically address sleep apnea, drivers with moderate to severe sleep apnea will likely be disqualified. Moderate to severe sleep apnea will certainly affect a trucker’s ability to drive safely.


In some cases, drivers with health issues may be granted exemptions that allow them to continue driving a truck. These exemptions are typically granted on a case-by-case basis and may require medical evaluations, treatment plans, or other accommodations to ensure the safety of the driver and others on the road.

However, exemptions may not be granted if the driver’s condition poses a significant safety risk, or if the driver is unable to meet federal regulations for commercial driving.

Hurt in a truck crash? We can help.

Transportation departments impose hundreds of rules and regulations for hiring truck drivers, but that doesn’t mean truck companies always follow them, especially with widespread labor shortages when employers are tempted to take shortcuts.

If you were hurt in a crash with a semi-truck, the skilled St. Louis truck accident lawyers with Langdon & Emison are ready to help. Schedule a free consultation by contacting us online or calling (866) 931-2115.